Bioethics Blogs

Look Dad – I’m an Economist!

I recently spoke with a reporter about a new effort, by Medicare, to persuade dialysis centers to care for a wider range of primary care health needs for people with kidney failure. I’ll give you a teaser for that article below, but first want to point out what struck me as the most notable part of the article – the reporter referred to me as a health economist! My father has always been disappointed in me, for not practicing medicine full-time, and for pursuing soft social sciences like psychology. Maybe he will be happy to find out that someone thinks of me as an economist.

Now here’s that news report:

The CMS announced on Wednesday the first suite of accountable care organization models specifically geared toward treatment of end-stage renal disease (ESRD). More than 600,000 people in the U.S. live with the condition, which requires patients to undergo costly, but life-sustaining dialysis treatments each week that account for nearly 6% of Medicare spending.

The 13 ESRD seamless care organizations, called ESCOs, began to share this month the financial risks for treating Medicare beneficiaries with kidney failure in 11 U.S. states. The models are meant to encourage dialysis providers to “think beyond their traditional roles” and provide patient-centered care, the CMS announcement said.

DaVita and Fresenius, the nation’s two largest dialysis providers, both won bids to participate. DaVita HealthCare Partners will have three ESCOs located in Phoenix, Miami and Philadelphia. Fresenius Medical Care will have six, located in San Diego, Chicago, Charlotte, N.C., Philadelphia, Columbia (S.C.) and Dallas.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.