Leaders meet with congress members in support of improved Medicare reimbursement

Posted June 5th, 2017 by Be The Match and filed in News
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Capitol Building

On Tuesday, June 6th, leaders in the field of bone marrow transplantation (BMT), as well as NMDP/Be The Match, will travel to Capitol Hill to inform Members of Congress that inadequate Medicare reimbursement for transplant greatly impacts their transplant centers and patients. These leaders will urge Members of Congress to support upcoming legislation to align transplant reimbursement for bone marrow, peripheral blood stem cells and cord blood similarly to that of solid organ transplant.

Why are these meetings important?

Leaders will be meeting with Members of Congress in attempts to improve Medicare reimbursement for transplant. Currently, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reimbursement for stem cell and cord blood transplant does not adequately cover the total costs of the procedure. As a result, hospitals lose thousands of dollars on every Medicare patient they treat. This is jeopardizing patient access to life-saving treatment.

Congressional supporters are working on a bill that would change the way donor search and cell acquisition are reimbursed through Medicare, thereby improving the overall cost of transplant. This change is reflective of the way the costs for solid organ transplant are currently reimbursed.

This important bill will likely be introduced in early June. Although it will have a very minimal impact on Medicare’s total spending, it will have an enormous impact to ensure that patients, ages 65 years and older, who need transplants will be able to receive them without facing financial barriers.

“We are hopeful that with advocate support, the Congress will pass this legislation which will successfully increase reimbursement for transplants, making this life-saving treatment accessible to all patients,” states Susan Leppke, Director of Public and Payer Policy at NMDP/Be The Match.

Learn more about the advocates

Dr. Eneida Nemecek, MD MS, MBA: Director of the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplantation Program at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and co-director of the Northwest Marrow Transplant Program at Oregon Health and Sciences University. Dr. Nemecek has spent years researching the latest advances in bone marrow transplantation and has seen first-hand how the procedure saves lives.

Dr. Daniel Couriel, MD, MS: Director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Program, University of Utah School of Medicine. Dr. Couriel has considerable work in researching new treatments and biomarkers for acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease. He has a history of consistent funding and has more than 100 peer reviewed journal articles.

Rocky Billups, MS: Vice President of Operations, Sarah Cannon. Mr. Billups has more than 20 years of experience in clinical practice and developing oncology programs. He is a professional member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology® (ASCO), American Society of Hematology® (ASH), American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation™ (ASBMT) and the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC).

Jennifer Christian: Bone Marrow Transplant Director at the University of Kentucky. Ms. Christian has spent her career managing and operating bone marrow transplant programs, giving her a front row seat to the wonders of transplant. Her focus is primarily on quality, business, administrative, and operational matters of the BMT Program yet she has developed a unique and in-depth understanding of the clinical aspects of patient care.

How you can get involved

It will be very important for advocates to voice their support of this bill by contacting Members of Congress. Look for advocacy opportunities later in June to encourage your Members of Congress to support this legislation.

Looking for ways to support our legislative advocacy efforts? Sign-up for our Be The Voice e-newsletter and follow us on Twitter @BeTheMatch or Facebook to receive updates and learn how you can get involved.

2 Responses to “Leaders meet with congress members in support of improved Medicare reimbursement”

  1. Sandra M. Correa says:

    My son had a successful ALLO SCT for relapsed ALL in Nov. 2015. He’s 20 now and feeling good. Met his donor and we love her!

  2. Yetty Sudarman says:

    I was diagnosed with Primary Myelofibrosis in June of 2016 at the age of 70. It was an aggresive one and requires a bone marrow transplant as soon as possible. I was informed by my transplant doctor that Medicare no longer covers a bone marrow transplant for Myelofibrosis sufferers over the age of 65. If the disease mutates into Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) which it could, then Medicare will cover the transplant for over 65 sufferers. Why make this distinction when both diseases are virulent? AML is a very aggressive form of leukemia and very difficult to cure so why not prevent the leukemia by treating the the Myelofibrosis as sooon as possible. Bone marrow transplant costs are very prohibitive. Those without private insurance would find some other treatment that are less effective or simply just die from it because of the lack of funds. As Myelofibrosis usually afflict those over the age of 55 or older and usually on fixed income, why deny seniors the life saving bone marrow transplant when it could safe their lives? I underwent the bone marrow transplant in November 2016 and seven months later I am doing well right now. Please restore the bone marrow transplant coverage in Medicare. Our lives depend on it. Thank you.

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