CMS updates kidney dialysis standards

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued a new rule governing health assessment, patient outcomes and physician practices at kidney dialysis centers around the country.

Under the new provisions, facilities will be required to fully evaluate the health of a patient before treatment begins, and form an "inter-disciplinary team" to establish a care plan and evaluate patient outcomes. Facilities are also required to develop quality assessment and performance improvement programs.

The cost of implementing these changes will be $11.8 million in the first year, according to CMS. But savings should total $24.9 million as a result of reduced patient care time and the elimination of medical records personnel. These savings mean facilities will incur no added costs because of the rule.

The rule can be found in its entirety at http://www.cms.hhs.gov.