Kansas rep introduces bill to get new dialysis facilities open

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A Kansas congresswoman is co-sponsoring a bill to get new dialysis centers open more quickly.

The measure is partly in response to the plight of a Topeka center that's been waiting more than a year and a half for the go-ahead to open.

The bill from Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kansas, and Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, would allow independent accreditation for dialysis facilities.

Right now, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) puts inspection of new dialysis centers at lowest priority, which can mean long delays.

Jenkins cited, as an example, DaVita Dialysis. 13 NEWS investigated the DaVita situation in August 2016. DaVita applied for inspection of its new dialysis facility on Wanamaker in October 2015. Last summer, it was informed it would have to wait until at least September of this year to be surveyed. The Kansas Dept. of Health Environment cited both a staffing shortage, plus the CMS tier system for the delays.

Jenkins says allowing independent accreditation would cut through red tape to serve patients more quickly.

"At present, there are approximately 3,200 Kansans on dialysis. Dialysis centers specialize in the removal of water and waste from the blood of people with diminished or lost kidney function. So to say that dialysis patients need these centers to survive is not an overstatement," Jenkins said in a news release.

Nearly all insurance requires dialysis be done at a facility that has CMS certification.