by Gary Peterson
It remains to be seen if the ProPublica articles on dialysis will result in congressional hearings. The last ones were held in 2000.
Although many of the links on this page no longer work, see this running news summary from 2000-2003. It details GAO reports on dialysis in 2000 and 2003 and the congressional actions that resulted.
If congressional hearings are held again, I believe that in order to be more effective, they should be much more personal this time.
Congress should have the large dialysis organizations’ CEOs, prominent physicians, and CMS officials testify as to the dialysis therapy they would choose for themselves, as well as the reasons why. They should then explain why over 90% of patients receive therapy that they would not accept for themselves. Congress, patients, and the public could then decide who or what is at fault.
I believe Congress should also unearth the numerous financial conflicts of interest that exist for many healthcare professionals that are usually entrusted to act in the patients’ best interests.
Congress should hear from patients who have experienced both standard, in-center treatments and then have switched to individualized care based on their health and life goals.
I believe CEOs, nephrologists, and CMS officials should always be somewhat fearful of being called before Congress to explain the differences between their personal choices and the care that patients actually receive.