I am one of 400,000 Americans with irreversible kidney failure. I am also one of the 85 percent of patients with kidney failure who rely on Medicare's end stage renal disease (ESRD) benefit for life-sustaining dialysis care.
As your constituent and a person who relies on dialysis to stay alive, I am writing to express my concern over the recent proposal from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that would cut Medicare's end-stage renal disease (ESRD) benefit by 9.4 percent and the potential effects that cut would have on my dialysis care. Specifically, I am writing to urge you to intervene with CMS to ensure that this "proposed rule" - when it does become law - is reasonable and protects my access to quality care. I am most concerned that additional deep cuts by CMS could affect my access to dialysis treatments. Cuts could also affect my ability to receive the appropriate type of treatment that works best for me. Limiting choice and availability of treatment options will not only inconvenience me, but may also affect my ability to be employed, stay out of the hospital, and live an active life. Further, I am concerned that my access will be reduced to crucial staff such as nurses, social workers and dietitians. Finally, if local facilities close or consolidate as a result of Medicare cutbacks that are too deep, my fellow patients and I will undoubtedly feel the effect.
My name is Karen Santos-Burson and I live in Fort Worth Texas. I am 55 years old and I have End Stage Renal Disease that requires dialysis treatments 3 times a week. Without my dialysis I would be dead. I wouldn't be here to see all the famous firsts of my precious grandchildren. I wouldn't be here to cuddle with them in a rocking chair, drink that cup of imaginary tea and fresh baked cookies they made. I wouldn't be here to watch them grow into beautiful young women and handsome men. They would not know the special love of a grandmother. And I want to be here to see as much of it as I possibly can, to hopefully one day hold that first great-grandbaby! The proposed cuts to dialysis care could put all of that in jeopardy!
I urge and implore you to ask CMS to revise its proposed rule to ensure that funding levels are adequate enough to cover the cost of providing the life-sustaining treatments and maintain access to quality dialysis care.
Thank you in advance for your consideration of this important issue.