Economic implications of non-adherence to treatment recommendations for hemodialysis patients with anemia

Laura T. Pizzi, Nikita M. Patel, Vittorio M. Maio, David S. Goldfarb, Beckie Michael, Joseph P. Fuhr, Neil I. Goldfarb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background. Treatment of patients receiving hemodialysis who have anemia varies considerably despite the availability of established practice guidelines from the National Kidney Foundation Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (KDOQI). Objective. To compare actual use of erythropoietin (EPO) and intravenous (IV) iron with that recommended in KDOQI guidelines. Methods. A budget impact model was used to calculate costs per member per month (PMPM) for actual practice versus recommended practice were calculated using Medicare reimbursement rates for EPO and IV iron. A sensitivity analysis tested the impact of varying the recommended dosages by ±50%. Results. For EPO, a net savings PMPM of $257 (if administered by IV ) or $252 (if administered subcutaneously) could be achieved with adherence to KDOQI guidelines. Adherence to KDOQI recommendations for IV iron would increase Medicare reimbursements for this drug by an estimated $6 PMPM. Sensitivity analysis revealed a significant potential savings even if the dose of EPO used in practice was increased by 50%. Conclusions. In the face of limited resources and changing reimbursement policies, dialysis providers will need to find ways of reducing costs without compromising the quality of care. Clinical practice guidelines such as KDOQI can be used to assist providers in meeting this challenge. Among Medicare patients who have anemia of chronic kidney disease, adherence to KDOQI treatment recommendations could translate into a significant savings for Medicare. Our findings provide incentive for payers and dialysis centers to examine their current practices and improve the quality and efficiency of anemia treatment in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)660-671
Number of pages12
JournalDialysis and Transplantation
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nephrology
  • Transplantation


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