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Payment Reform and Health Disparities: Changes in Dialysis Modality under the New Medicare Dialysis Payment System

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Health Services Research

Published online on


Objective To evaluate the effect of the Medicare dialysis payment reform on potential disparities in the selection of peritoneal dialysis (PD) for the treatment of end‐stage renal disease (ESRD). Data Sources Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) ESRD Medical Evidence Form, Medicare claims, and other CMS data for 2008–2013. Study Design We examined the association of patient age, race/ethnicity, urban/rural location, pre‐ESRD care, comorbidities, insurance, and other factors with the selection of PD as initial dialysis modality across prereform (2008–2009), interim (2010), and postreform (2011–2013) time periods. Principal Findings Selection of PD increased among diverse patient subgroups following the payment reform. However, the lower PD selection observed with older age, black race, Hispanic ethnicity, less pre‐ESRD care, and Medicaid insurance before the reform largely remained in the initial postreform years. Conclusions Despite recent growth in PD, there may be ongoing disparities in access to PD that have largely not been mitigated by the payment reform. There is potential for modifying provider financial incentives to achieve policy goals related to cost and quality of care. However, even with a substantial shift in financial incentives, separate initiatives to reduce existing disparities in care may be needed.