May 23, 2022
Global Shortage of Contrast Dye Makes CMS Cuts to Vascular Access Centers Worse
DVAC says dye shortage compounds CMS-directed cuts
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the Dialysis Vascular Access Coalition (DVAC) is drawing attention to the international shortage of intravenous imaging contrast, a dye used for vascular access procedures and other imaging tests. The supply chain disruption is making the 20% cuts implemented by CMS in the 2022 Physician Fee Schedule worse for vascular access centers and patients.
DVAC is concerned that the shortage of contrast dye is putting more pressure on access centers, which are struggling to keep their doors open in the midst of the ongoing clinical labor cuts that are being phased in over the next four years. DVAC members fear that the dye shortage is causing more patients to receive a central vein catheter, which data shows has higher infection rates, higher hospitalization rates, and higher costs.
For dialysis patients, the shortage is forcing scheduling delays and pushing patients away from other more preferred vascular access options such as a fistula.
DVAC is calling on federal policymakers to stop the clinical labor cuts and come up with fundamental reforms to the PFS in order to ensure that providers do not experience drastic swings in payments year to year.
Dr. Dean Preddie, DVAC’s policy chair, said, “The shortage of contrast dye is troubling news for dialysis patients and vascular access providers because it highlights the weakened position of vascular access centers following recent CMS-directed Medicare reimbursement cuts of 20% for vascular access services. Vascular access centers are currently running on thin margins, and a supply chain disruption like this makes it harder to stay in business and serve patients.”