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DVAC Recognizes National Minority Health Month With Spotlight on Health Inequity
CMS-directed cuts spur health inequity and subpar care

April 21, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC — April is National Minority Health Month (NMHM) and the Dialysis Vascular Access Coalition (DVAC) is raising awareness about health disparities that affect minority groups.

DVAC continues to raise concerns over health inequity related to the 2022 cuts of 18% initiated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to vascular access services. The cuts to the Physician Fee Schedule (PFS), initiated by CMS at the start of 2022, are forcing Vascular Access Centers (VACs) to close and making health inequity worse by limiting patient access to the gold-standard of vascular access care— a fistula.

Data shows that if you are black and female, you are five times more likely to get a catheter for dialysis and far less likely to start hemodialysis with an arteriovenous fistula (AVF) than white patients — despite being younger and having fewer comorbidities. On average, end-stage renal disease (ESRD) is roughly 3.7 times greater in African Americans, 1.4 times greater in Native Americans, and 1.5 times greater in Asian Americans compared to Caucasians. People of color who have chronic kidney disease and are not yet on dialysis are nearly four times more likely to progress to ESRD than their white counterparts.

Dr. Dean Preddie, DVAC’s policy chair, said, “During National Minority Health Month, DVAC will continue raising awareness about health inequity for patients on dialysis. This year’s decision by CMS to move forward with painful cuts to office-based specialists will adversely affect facilities that treat a higher percentage of patients from minority communities. Our goal is to make sure that patients with ESRD receive the best quality of care no matter what zip code they live in and improve healthcare access to minority populations.” 

Wallace M., a California resident, said, “As an African American patient on dialysis, I am already at a disadvantage. I am finally getting good care for my access at a local access center, and I feel much better. To learn that the CMS-directed cuts may cause my center to close is frustrating. Patients of color like me always get the short end of the stick in health care.”

DVAC is calling on Congress to reverse these cuts and fundamentally reform the PFS. 

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