In a letter to Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Chairman of the Committee on Finance, and Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), Ranking Member, AAKP strongly supported their legislation introduced today to improve the quality of U.S. dialysis facilities.

The Grassley-Baucus "Medicare Value Purchasing Act of 2005" would promote new quality standards for physicians, hospitals, nursing homes and dialysis facilities, and link Medicare payments to quality performance and outcomes.

'For more than 35 years, AAKP has been a 'consumer advocate' for kidney patients fighting for quality, access and affordability of medical care for fellow patients,' said AAKP President Brenda Dyson. "This bill supports a long-time AAKP goal that dialysis quality be linked to payment.'

'We know quality is not free, and we believe Congress and Medicare need to step up and improve Medicare payments. AAKP believes the Grassley-Baucus bill is a new chapter in American health care - demanding that Medicare, the nation's single largest payer of health care, obtain proven value and better quality for each dollar.'

'Like all Americans, AAKP's members expect accountability and quality in any purchase, including their health care services. We believe Congress needs to improve payments to dialysis facilities. We are especially concerned about small facilities, as well as rural and inner city facilities."

In May, AAKP issued a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also calling for dialysis quality improvements and better Medicare funding to dialysis facilities to underwrite the cost of improvements. AAKP's position on Medicare quality was also described in an article featured in the October 2004 issue of Nephrology News and Issues, titled, 'The Quality Imperative: Why the Kidney Community Must Take Charge.'

For more information, visit aakp or contact the AAKP National Office at (800) 749-2257 or infoaakp.

About AAKP - AAKP is the voluntary, patient organization, which for more than 35 years, has been dedicated to improving the lives of fellow kidney patients and their families by helping them deal with the physical, emotional and social impact of kidney disease. The programs offered by AAKP inform and inspire patients and their families to better understand their condition, adjust more readily to their circumstances and assume more normal, productive lives in their communities.

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