Thursday, November 26, 2015
1012 C Street  •  Floresville, TX 78114  •  Phone: 830-216-4519  •  Fax: 830-393-3219  • 

WCN Site Search

Lost & Found

*Includes FREE photo online!
REWARD!! 2 catahoula female hog dogs with neon collars lost around cr 132 & hwy 97 west & cr 221 on San Antonio River call 210-779-6614 or 210-815-2709
Lost: Small black male dog, white on chest, has Harley Davidson collar, answers to Spaz, last seen Nov. 10 on corner of Eagle Ridge/Hwy. 181. Call/text 210-723-5893.
More Lost & Found ads ›

Help Wanted

CASA VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR, FULL-TIME POSITION. Provides professional staff support to CASA volunteers to ensure that abused children’s best interests are represented in court. Social services experience required.  Responsible for assisting with recruiting and initial training of advocates, and coordinating cases in Wilson County and Karnes County with Atascosa County (home office). Must demonstrate written and presentation communication skills. Must be available to work intermittent evenings/weekends with some travel.  Must have personal car, current TDL, and auto liability insurance. Call CASA of South Texas at 830-569-4696 for application, or e-mail request to by November 30.
Journeyman/Apprentice electricians, must have valid Texas driver's license, dependable with a great attitude, an eagerness to learn, great work ethic, and basic hand tools, pay dependent upon skill and experience, journeyman need clean driving record and current electrical license. Fax resume to 830-996-3396 or call 830-996-1300.
More Help Wanted ads ›

Featured Videos

Video Vault ›


Fiscal Cliff Healthcare Policy Fix: Good for Rural Patients and Taxpayers

E-Mail this Story to a Friend
Print this Story

The author of this entry is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or
March 18, 2013 | 2,476 views | Post a comment

By Grace Boatright

Rarely do federal lawmakers come upon a policy that can expand access to critical health care services and simultaneously save taxpayers money.

But according to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office, a tweak in the way Medicare pays for certain kidney disease drugs could do just that - preserving the availability of crucial treatments to rural patients and saving the program billions.

At issue is Medicare's handling of a few "oral-only" dialysis medications designed for end-stage renal disease, the most severe version of chronic kidney disease.

In 2011, Medicare switched to a payment system that reimbursed for all dialysis-related treatments in one "bundled" rate. Instead of paying prevailing market prices, the government opted to compensate health care providers according to a formula.

But the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services - the government agency that oversees the program - decided to exempt certain oral dialysis medications from the bundle through 2014. January's fiscal cliff deal extended the exemption through 2016.

Instead, those drugs will continue to be dispensed by local pharmacies through Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit.

That's the right call. Setting appropriate compensation is a particularly time-consuming and complicated task. It requires a remarkable volume of medical data. If officials had simply thrown the oral dialysis treatment into the price-control bundle, they almost certainly would have set compensation too low.

Indeed, the Government Accountability Office explicitly warned of "a potential underestimate of the total cost" and said that there were still "questions about payment adequacy beginning in 2014."

If policymakers had proceeded with bundling the oral dialysis medications, patients could have lost access to them. Health care providers serving the Medicare population would have started losing money when dispensing these drugs. Many would have been forced to stop offering them - leaving patients in the lurch.

Patients suffering from end-stage renal failure are some of the most vulnerable in the entire Medicare population. They typically require at least three rounds of treatment every week. Even minor disruptions to their health care regimens can lead to serious deterioration of their already fragile condition.

Those in rural areas would have been hit particularly hard. Many communities outside urban centers depend on just one or two health clinics to meet their medical needs. A single clinic may serve patients coming from 50 miles away or more. These clinics typically run on very thin profit margins and depend heavily on Medicare payments to stay afloat.

Aware of the potential adverse consequences in rural communities, legislators responded by maintaining these oral medicines under the Part D prescription drug benefit. This move helped to maintain the viability of small clinics servicing rural communities.

This was good for patient access but, according to the government budget accountants, also good for the Medicare program and taxpayers because it saves money. The CBO projects that extending the exemption through 2018 would save taxpayers approximately $1.3 billion.

Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, played particularly important roles in marshalling support for the extension of the exemption through 2016, as part of the fiscal cliff deal earlier this year. They should be commended for championing the interests of rural Americans.

Because Congress acted in the best interests of rural patients, Medicare enrollees suffering from renal disease can now rest assured that they will retain access to treatments they need.

Grace Boatright is the legislative director for the National Grange, an organization that advocates for rural America.
‹ Previous Blog Entry

Your Opinions and Comments

Be the first to comment on this story!

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Not a subscriber?
Subscriber, but no password?
Forgot password?

Commentaries Archives

Commentaries page
Commentaries who represents me?
Drama KidsClarity Wellauto chooserVoncille Bielefeld homeAllstate & McBride RealtyHeavenly Touch homeTriple R DC Experts

  Copyright © 2007-2015 Wilson County News. All rights reserved. Web development by Drewa Designs.