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New Medicare Policies: Will Blacks Suffer?

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Researchers warn that Black kidney patients may have more difficulty getting dialysis under a new Medicare payment policy, according to Forbes.com. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will make a single payment to dialysis units to cover both dialysis and injectable medications. These services were previously reimbursed separately. Because Black kidney patients more often experience anemia (low hemoglobin) than White patients, they're more likely to require more treatment with expensive stimulating agents to boost their hemoglobin levels. Since Medicare will no longer reimburse dialysis centers for higher treatment doses related to anemia, the new policy could create a "financial disincentive" for centers to accept Black patients.—BB

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