Feds Say More People Should Try Dialysis At Home


About half a million Americans need dialysis, which cleans toxins from the body when the kidneys can’t anymore. It can cost more than $50,000 a year, and takes hours each week at a dialysis center.

To meet the need, roughly 7,000 kidney dialysis centers have opened across the country. Patients go several times a week and spend half a day undergoing the life-sustaining procedure. Medicare is now taking steps to make it easier for people to do their own dialysis at home.

That sounds like great news to Dr. Robert LaClair, a nephrologist in Helena, Mont., who has an unusually high percentage of patients who do their dialysis at home: 40 percent versus the national rate of about 10 percent. That’s largely because LaClair is no fan of how dialysis has traditionally been done in America. He says his patients do better if they’re more active participants in their care, rather than passive receivers.

“The way we do dialysis in this country, no one would be saying, ‘This is the way we should be doing things,’ ” LaClair says.

Ready the full story at NPR.org

The NPR article on home dialysis should be placed in the context of a desire to offer patients treatment modality choices that suit their individual goals and needs while maximizing positive outcomes. The additional funding of a training payment for home dialysis is a good thing, but should not come at the expense of the most comprehensive and widely-used modality, namely in-center hemodialysis. Appropriate reimbursement for each option will give patients choices that are not only sustainable, but reliably available.” – Dr. Franklin Maddux, Chief Medical Officer, Fresenius Medical Care North America

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