Home Hemo and Medicare?

Is Medicare still only covering 3x a week dialsyis? How are centers that offer home hemo getting around this? What would it take to get Medicare on board with daily home hemo dialysis?
John L

Medicare routinely covers 3x a week dialysis, but covers more treatments with medical justification.

Medicare says that there’s not enough research basis to prove that longer/more frequent dialysis is cost effective. Medicare is waiting for the National Institutes of Health study comparing daily with 3x a week dialysis and nocturnal with 3x a week dialysis using a type of research called a randomized controlled clinical trial. This is the gold standard of research. Study centers are trying to recruit patients now. If I understand how they’re recruiting correctly, a patient wanting daily or nocturnal goes to a center that offers it. He/she must agree to be in the study to even have a chance of getting the treatment he/she wants. There is a 50/50 chance that he/she will be randomized into the 3x a week dialysis instead. Assuming the study centers get enough patients and start the study, the results won’t be available until 2008 at the earliest.

The only other way to push Medicare into routinely paying for more treatments is if legislation is passed requiring the Medicare to pay for more treatments. Legislation was introduced in the last session of congress but went no where. I expect to see legislation again in the next few months. However, with the growing deficit and budget problems, it will be a tough sell and will need lots of patient and professionals to write their legislators asking them to support it. Keep a lookout on Home Dialysis Central’s home page as well as the Legislative Action Center.

Thank you for the very informative reply, I have checked out the HDC Legislature page and written both Nebraska Congressmen. I will continue to push this issue, I think it is very imprtant to get something through congress that requires Medicare to provide for daily home hemo.
John L