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Protect Medicare Patient Access!

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published the FIscal Year (FY) 2017 Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) Proposed Rule last week. Unfortunately, the Proposed Rule does not address an important barrier to access for patients: current Medicare rates do not cover the costs hospitals incur when they provide a transplant.

Be The Match, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, along with others in the transplant community, are asking CMS to pay hospitals the cost to obtain bone marrow or cord blood cells that are used in transplant. CMS already pays hospitals these costs for solid organs, like kidneys, hearts and lungs.

Unless this change in the payment system is made, hospitals will continue to be paid at rates thar are significantly below the cost they incur to provide the transplant and follow up care. This means that some hosptials may no longer be able to provide transplants to Medicare patients.

Please act now! Comments are due June 27, 2016. It is important that CMS hear that Medicare reimbursement should not be a barrier to accessing a life-saving bone marrow or cord blood transplant from as many people as possible. The Proposed Rule is open for comment. You can submit a comment to the organization asking it to reimburse the cells used in bone marrow and cord blood transplants serperately from the services provided by the hospital, just as it does for solid organs. 

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What's Happening With Appropriations?

The federal appropriations process remains in full swing. Thank you to those of you who have already contacted your Members of Congress asking him or her to support funding for the C.W. Bill Young Program (Program), operated by the National Marrow Donor Program/Be The Match. If you have not already done so, it is not too late. Send a note to your Members of Congress asking him or her to support the program!

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Advocate Profile: Sam Sharf

S. Elizabeth "Sam" Sharf is the clinical director for the Adult and Pediatric Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant (BMT) and Cellular Therapy Program at the University of North Carolina Hospitals in Chapel Hill. She has been in the BMT field for almost twenty years. Sam recently shared that expertise on Capitol Hill during a Medicare Reimbursement Legislative Day, encouraging the Congress to urge the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to protect access to transplant for Medicare beneficiaries.

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