Could some ETX dialysis clinics be closing? - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Could some ETX dialysis clinics be closing?


"If I don't have a place to go, then basically I'm going to die," said Mike Renfroe, a dialysis patient at DaVita in Longview.

Renfroe has been on dialysis since 2005, when a trip to the hospital went terribly wrong.

"They put me on the real strong antibiotics and that's basically what shut my kidneys down. I was down there 54 days, 50 of them in ICU," Renfroe explained.

When he woke up, he was on dialysis, and he will be for the rest of his life.

"I come three days a week Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I get there about 5:30 in the morning and leave about 10:30 in the morning," Renfroe said.

They are treatments that have changed everything for not just Mike, but his wife June as well.

"We were working for retirement, and then we were going to travel and with Mike's surgery and with all of his medical problems, our whole life just came to a complete stop," June Renfroe said.

More changes could be coming to their routine if end stage renal disease reimbursement is cut.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a federal agency, is proposing a 24 dollar cut from the 250 dollar treatment rate based on changes in drug utilization over time.

"What we get paid or reimbursed by CMS doesn't even cover the cost of the treatments that we provide, and that's not withstanding any cut at all," said DiVita Regional Vice President, Debbie Wolfe.

Wolfe said if the proposal passes, six out of seven DaVita clinics in this region would be operating at a financial loss.

That could mean shorter hours, fewer employees or possibly the closure of clinics.

So, DaVita employees are passing out flyers, asking East Texans to prevent Washington from allowing the cut to take effect.

First, they ask people to go to and follow two steps to send a letter to Congress.

For patients, employees ask they call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) and ask to speak with Ombudsman.

"They can only do so many patients a day, and if they've got more patients then they have opportunity then somebody is going to get left out in the cold," Renfroe said.

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