Seminars in Dialysis. 2020; v33(1), 75-82.
Authors: Brigitte Schiller, Graham Abra
Patients with end‐stage kidney disease (ESKD) require dialysis or a kidney transplant for survival and over 760,000 patients now benefit from these therapies in the United States. Dialysis in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s was often done in the home. After the advent of Medicare coverage for ESKD in 1972 and the subsequent easier access to center based hemodialysis, the use of home modalities dramatically declined. This stands in contrast to home dialysis uptake in other industrialized healthcare systems where both peritoneal dialysis and home hemodialysis are more frequently used. Characteristics unique to the US healthcare system as well as the cultures of providers (physicians and dialysis providers) and recipients of ESKD care are hypothesized as the main reasons for observed differences in home dialysis use. To address these issues, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have recently proposed new payment programs under an Executive Order from the President of the United States, with the explicit goal of increasing the number of patients using home dialysis. This perspective outlines policy opportunities and programs with a proven track record of home dialysis growth in other countries or hypothesized promise based on identified barriers and needs.