IS THE CMS STAR PROGRAM RESPONSIBLE FOR RECORD NUMBER YEAR-END DIALYSIS PATIENTS TERMINATED FROM CARE
Wednesday, December 28, 2016 | By arlene | 1 Comment
With the end of the year fast approaching there has been an alarming increase in the number of patients terminated from dialysis care. One has to wonder if these terminations are tied to the implementation of the Star Program by CMS as a way to grade care centers on results of patient care along with clinic reviews. Payments to the Dialysis providers for patient care are tied to this star program….more stars…..more money. It appears that clinics are using questionable tactics to rid them of patient’s that lower their Star rating. Patients who question or report the level of care at a clinic and those patients who are the sickest can lower the Star rating. Often these patients are subject to harassment, retaliation and trumped up reports of behavioral problems. Is this a year end termination of any patient that could lower profits due to a lower Star Rating?
These patients are terminated from the clinic and blackballed from any other clinic within the same area owned by the for-profits. These patients are left to their own without dialysis except at an ER. Many ER’s will not dialyze them until their Potassium level gets to a required level; this is a painful wait for care and contributes to poorer health, and could lead to an earlier death.
A closely related Star Program within the Veterans Administration has come under fire. After an investigation, it was found that the Star ratings for underperforming hospitals and clinics were hidden or underreported.
Dialysis Advocates does not believe the 5 Star Program benefits patients; it is too easy to manipulate the results by finding clever ways to do so. As we feared, the 5 star program, has lead to more terminations of patients, or in some cases putting patients on forced hospice just to produce a higher score.