SHERMAN – DaVita, a leading provider
in the kidney care industry, recently filed a lawsuit against the Centers for
Medicare and Medicaid Services in the Sherman Division of the Eastern District of Texas in regards to a new interim rule that
could negatively affect dialysis patients and their health services.
“The rule would do
extensive damage and we are temporarily relieved that potentially thousands of
patients won’t lose coverage immediately, but they are not completely safe yet,”
Alicia Patterson, supervisor in communications with DaVita, told The Record.
The interim rule was set to take
effect on Jan. 13 and was passed on Dec. 14, 2016 by CMS. DaVita filed the suit Jan. 6.
Because DaVita filed suit in a
temporary restraining order and the new presidential administration, the new rule has
not yet gone into effect. DaVita was set to go to court earlier in January.
health insurers are already using the rule as a way to discriminate against
dialysis patients, and even without the rule going into effect some insurance
companies are terminating and denying dialysis patients’ coverage,” Patterson said.
temporary ruling is good news for the thousands of patients who would be harmed by the implementation of
the rule, but our work is not done,”
Skip Thurman, also with DaVita, said in a press release.
If passed, the new rule would raise
dialysis patient costs, and in some cases, could deny them of insurance
benefits because of their current conditions.
“Not all ESRD (end stage rental disease) patients qualify for Medicare and
Medicare does not cover families," Thurman said. "Therefore, some ESRD patients and their
family members would lose insurance coverage altogether if forced to change to
With the suit filed,
DaVita hopes to offer dialysis patients with an efficient amount of time to
prepare for such changes in their health care. As noted in DaVita’s press
release, “The plaintiff group seeks an injunction to at least defer the
effective date of the rule so as to allow proper time for notice and comment.”
“Our patients, as are we, are
very concerned that this trend of discrimination is the 'pre-existing
condition' in disguise,” Patterson said. “Now more than ever, we believe it is
critical that the government establishes new health care policies that protects
low-income, high-cost patients across health care from discrimination."
“The dialysis community will continue its
efforts to overturn it to protect patients from being discriminated against by
health insurers,” Thurman said in the release.
DaVita is willing to work in cooperation with the government in
resolving this issue brought up by CMS, it noted in its release.
CMS is a health provider of Medicare and Medicaid benefits.
DaVita began operating in 1999 and works closely to enrich
people’s lives, as noted on their website. In addition, DaVita is also home to DaVita
Kidney Care and Health Care Partners. At Health Care Partners, they seek to
assist in “finding ways to transform health care models to help improve patients’
quality of life.”
“DaVita is a community first, and a company second. We
are a community that just happens to be organized in the form of a company,” it states on its website.