Wenstrup sponsors bipartisan, bicameral Kidney Health Connect Act

U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) on May 24 sponsored a bipartisan, bicameral bill that would permit dialysis clinics to serve as originating sites for telehealth services and to ensure patients do not pay any additional fees associated with using the clinics.

“As a physician, I would sometimes have to open my practice early or stay late so that patients traveling to or from dialysis could see me,” Rep. Wenstrup said. “Since the pandemic, many patients now have the flexibility to check in with their providers from the comfort of their homes; this bill grants that same flexibility to dialysis patients who spend hours in clinics.”

Specifically, the Kidney Health Connect Act, H.R. 7878, which has three original cosponsors, including U.S. Reps. John Joyce (R-PA) and Dan Kildee (D-MI), would give patients with End Stage Renal Disease continued access to connect with their providers while dialyzing in a clinic by allowing dialysis clinics to serve as an originating site for Medicare telehealth services, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Wenstrup’s office.

If enacted, the bill also would remove the 20 percent facility fee coinsurance obligation for patients accessing telehealth services in the clinic, the summary says.

“Allowing patients to use telehealth services while receiving dialysis treatments would save time and money for these patients while also giving them access to the care they need,” said Rep. Joyce. “I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation that would support patients and their doctors and urge its swift passage through the House.” 

The nonprofit Kidney Care Partners coalition supports H.R. 7878, which has been referred for consideration to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee and the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee.

U.S. Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and John Barrasso (R-WY) on May 25 introduced the identical S. 4307 in their chamber, where it has been sent to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee for review.