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Bennie Thompson Aims to Stop Proposed Cuts to Dialysis Providers

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 29 Jul 2013 05:16am | comments
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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have proposed a nearly 10 percent cut to dialysis providers. That could mean drastic changes for the more than six thousand patients who depend on dialysis services in Mississippi and one Mississippi congressman is trying to stop the cuts from taking place. 
 
In the state of Mississippi there are approximately 75 dialysis facilities caring for 6,157 patients suffering end stage kidney disease. 2nd District Congressman Bennie Thompson toured a dialysis facility in Jackson Friday. He says the purpose of his visit was to prepare himself for congressional budget talks this fall.
"So by touring a facility like this, when those discussions come up, I'll be able to say 'There are a number of people who cannot afford a 10% cut for dialysis, therefore, we need to look elsewhere,' if not, we just need to say, we ought to be able to take care of our citizens there is a time and a need such as this," explained Thompson.
 
One of those in need is Calvin Michael. The Jackson resident began dialysis treatments two years ago as a result of gunshot wound to his kidney's. Now he's concerned what cuts to the program could mean for the thousands of patients who rely on the services.
 
"If we miss I say 15 minutes of our treatment, it will shorten our lives," said Michael.  "We need the whole treatment, all the medicines that come with it and the staff that comes with it, and it takes all of us working together and a cut would kill us."
 
Debra Spencer is an administrator for DaVita Dialysis Centers of Mississippi. Her company services nearly one thousand Mississippian's at 11 facilities throughout the state. That's why she is particularly concerned about the proposed cuts.   
 
"Like most patients have issues with getting transportation to and from dialysis.  We have a program that's called DaVita RX, that delivers their medications here to the facility so some of those programs may be cut out if these Medicare costs come into effect," explained Spencer.
 
Mississippi ranks among the top in the nation in incidences of Kidney disease. African Americans are four times more likely to develop kidney disease than white Americans.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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