Rep. Porter Calls for Investigation into Dialysis Industry Practices

July 23, 2019
Press Release
Congresswoman conducts oversight of third-party payments keeping patients from accessing care and driving up costs

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45) today called on a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) watchdog to investigate dialysis providers and patient advocacy groups that are putting patients’ lives at risk and increasing the cost of care for taxpayers. Porter requested additional oversight after hearing complaints that patients were being pushed toward more expensive insurance options to increase dialysis center profits and to prevent patients from accessing kidney transplants.

“Orange County families are sick and tired of special interests in healthcare putting profits before patients,” Congresswoman Porter said. “I’m calling for a thorough investigation into these abusive practices to make sure that large dialysis companies aren’t lining their pockets at patients’ expenses.”

The American Kidney Fund, which receives funds from the country’s largest dialysis providers, operates a “premium assistance” program that helps patients pay for care. Patients and clinicians had reported that that two of the nation’s largest dialysis providers are using their financial influence over the American Kidney Fund to push patients into unaffordable coverage options and are discouraging patients from getting transplants. For most patients on dialysis, receiving a transplant is the best possible healthcare outcome.

In a letter sent today, Porter asked the HHS Office of the Inspector General to review the practices of dialysis providers to protect patients from predatory behavior. She wrote “to request that the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) open an investigation into the American Kidney Fund’s (AKF) relationship with leading dialysis providers… in the wake of recent revelations that suggest these organizations have collaborated to implement practices that benefit their bottom line at the expense of patients with kidney disease.”

Congresswoman Porter has made increasing access to affordable, high-quality healthcare a top priority. In April, she held a roundtable on Type 1 Diabetes with leading medical experts, local advocates, and children and families living with Type 1 Diabetes. She also condemned the Trump Administration’s legal campaign to eliminate all of the healthcare protections provided by the Affordable Care Act, including protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions. In February, Porter joined Rep. Lloyd Doggett as a lead sponsor of legislation that would allow the Medicare program to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices.

Read the full text of Porter’s letter to the HHS Office of the Inspector General HERE.

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