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.
Some 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.
“This 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 public insurance.”
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.