National Kidney Foundation Launches Your Treatment, Your Choice to Promote Implementation of New Medicare Education Benefit

New York, NY (February 23, 2010) — Helping patients make informed choices about their own health is the rationale behind the new Medicare pre-dialysis education benefit and NKF has developed a comprehensive curriculum to assist professionals in providing this patient education. NKF’s newest program, Your Treatment, Your Choice was designed tomeet CMS guidelines for reimbursement under the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA), and is free to qualified professionals, including physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists.

“NKF has advocated tirelessly for the last seven years for this pre-dialysis education benefit because people with CKD can live longer, healthier lives if they have the information to make their own treatment choices. The curriculum NKF created to help activate this new benefit through Your Treatment, Your Choiceis comprehensive yet upbeat and hopeful, stressing that patients can live meaningful lives even while undergoing treatment,” says Jane S. Davis, CRNP, Chair of NKF’s Council of Advanced Practitioners.

Your Treatment, Your Choice offers a comprehensive adult education approach, and includes all the materials needed for implementation and evaluation such as an implementation guide, detailed lesson plans, outcomes data collection tools and a variety of practical tools that actively involve and motivate the patient to reinforce learning, such as “Check Yourself!” word games, puzzles, quizzes, “Take Home” handouts and educational checklists. All materials are presented in downloadable format on a CD-ROM.

“The new Medicare benefit is an important step forward in assuring that patients with CKD have the information they need to live active, healthy lives as they make informed treatment decisions and manage the effects of their disease,” says Barry M. Straube, M.D., CMS Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Agency’s Office of Clinical Standards & Quality. “We are pleased to be working with the NKF to spread awareness of this important new Medicare education benefit through a national network of trained kidney health professionals.”

NKF is also planning a CME/CE webinar in March to provide an overview of the new program and discuss how it can help kidney care professionals implement the MIPPA kidney disease education benefit. Presenters will highlight important scientific findings on adult education and share evidence based teaching-learning methodologies that serve as the foundation for development of the multiple patient education tools included in Your Treatment, Your Choice.

Professionals who register for the program will have the option of being listed in an online NKF directory to be shared with patients visiting NKF’s website seeking information on local qualified professionals who are implementing the MIPPA benefit using Your Treatment, Your Choice.

“It’s critical that patients take advantage of this new benefit so they can become become better prepared and, in some cases, even delay the onset of kidney failure. Our website will ensure that they have access to providers who are using Your Treatment, Your Choice to offer this essential education,” says Gigi Politoski, Senior Vice President for Programs, National Kidney Foundation.

According to the NKF, in order to qualify for kidney disease education under MIPPA, patients must qualify for Medicare, have a physician referral and be diagnosed with chronic kidney disease stage 4. To help patients learn more about the benefit and how to access education, NKF’s People Like Us will host a Coffeehouse Conversations program devoted to patient empowerment through Your Treatment, Your Choice. The session is part of the monthly Coffeehouse Conversations™ telephone series for patients and will be scheduled for March 2010.

The National Kidney Foundation, a major voluntary nonprofit health organization, is dedicated to preventing kidney disease, improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by kidney disease and increasing the availability of kidneys for transplantation.