Fresenius becomes latest company to join new CMS kidney care payment models

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Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA) has become the latest company to announce partnerships with nephrology providers via the new Kidney Care Choices (KCC) models—first announced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in 2019, and formally beginning on 1 January 2022.

According to an FMCNA press release, the majority of the 1,000-plus physicians it will collaborate with are members of InterWell Health, the largest network of nephrologists in the USA. These partnerships comprise 20 of the 55 approved Kidney Contracting Entities (KCEs) recently announced by CMS, and are set to reach more than 50,000 kidney disease patients, the release adds.

“We are excited to bring our many years of experience and learnings from previous government initiatives to this new programme,” said Terry Ketchersid, chief medical officer of FMCNA’s Integrated Care Group and co-chief medical officer of InterWell Health. “Under the direction of the nephrologist, care coordinators will ensure the patient’s plan of care is carried out, providing access to social workers and renal dietitians well before dialysis is needed.

“Too often, patients with kidney disease crash into the hospital with critical health issues and require an urgent start to dialysis, so this programme helps incentivise earlier interventions to create a better plan for treatment and management of this disease.”

This FMCNA announcement follows news from last month that DaVita Integrated Kidney Care (DaVita IKC) had also co-launched 11 value-based programmes as part of the US government’s new, voluntary KCC models. The company has said these programmes intend to help slow the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD)—and help more patients with kidney failure access transplants or home dialysis—over the course of five performance years.

Elsewhere, Strive Health declared that it is partnering with 260 nephrology providers across five US states as part of the newly launched CMS model. As per a company press release, the nephrologists joining forces with Strive come from 27 different provider groups, representing approximately 8,200 patients and nearly US$600 million in medical spend—making Strive the largest non-dialysis participant in the model.

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