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Successful Advocacy Efforts Protect Medicare Patient Access to Outpatient Transplants

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has finalized the changes recommended by the NMDP / Be The Match in its Calendar Year 2017 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (HOPPS) FInal Rule. These changes mean that the outpatient payment rate for 2017 will increase nine fold from the 2016 rate. The changes will result in hospitals being compensated more accurately for the cost of acquiring the cells that are used in transplants. This important regulatory change could not have happened without your support. CMS received 403 comments from our advocates; including patients, family caregivers, transplant centers and other allies. We thank you and CMS for taking steps to protect patient access to care in the outpatient setting.

Our work doesn't stop here, however. We will be working with CMS over the next several months to improve inpatient reimbursement and align coding and cost reporting with the changes in outpatient transplant. Look for more information on how you can help protect patient access to transplants in the inpatient setting in next month's newsletter. With your help, we will ensure that all patients, regardless of age, have access to life-saving transplants. 

Thank You Advocates

Thank YOU! A note from our Chief Strategy Officer, Michael Boo

I want to thank you on behalf of the National Marrow Donor Program / Be The Match for your support. Throughout the year, we have asked you to take a stand for patients by supporting federal policies that protect access to life-saving transplants. It is because of your ongoing commitment that we are able to continue our work to support patients in need of marrow transplant. 

We appreciate each time that you have taken action to help protect federal funding for our programs, or improve reimbursement for Medicare patients. As shown with your actions on the HOPPS reimbursement comments, your voice truly matters in making this change. However, our work is far from over and we will continue to need your help and support in the coming year. 

Thank you, 

Michael Boo

Leslie Parran

Advocate Profile: Leslie Parran

"To be honest, I never thought at the beginning of my career that it would make a difference to participate in advocacy," says Leslie Parran, Senior Director of Nursing and Blood and Marrow Transplant program at the University of Minnesota. She's been in the field since 1979.

Leslie's first venture into advocacy came when she went to Washington, D.C. with the Oncology Nursing Society to talk with legislators about nursing issues. A number of years later, she again participated in legislative activity when her organization went to the Minnesota state capitol.

These first experiences demonstrated to her how advocacy can influence decision-makers' actions. "So when the call to action came from NMDP / Be the Match, I felt compelled to participated," says Leslie. On numerous occasions Leslie has submitted comments to legislators and policy makers in support of funding for the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program and for changes to hospital outpatient and inpatient rules to improve reimbursement for transplant. 

"While all of us may feel the day-to-day local pressures of our work, it is important to take time to advocate on behalf of all HCT patients. If we don't, we may be impacted by decisions that are note influenced by us. Others may make decisions with limited information and understanding of the impacts to our patients and organizations. It is also rewarding to dialog with legislators as a concerned constituent and be acknowledged in person or in writing for presenting your perspectives on issues that directly impact your work and your patients."

When asked, Leslie explains that the work that NMDP / Be The Match is doing to expand coverage for a broader range of diagnoses is critical to many patients."

"I would encourage clinicians and administrators to begin by learning about the Payer Policy and Legislative work the NMDP is doing. The, respond to the calls for action -- they make it easy for all of us." The more people participating in advocacy the greater the likelihood to influence decisions that affect patients and families.

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