Effects of the prospective payment system on anemia management in maintenance dialysis patients: Implications for cost and site of care

James B. Wetmore, Spiros Tzivelekis, Allan J. Collins, Craig A. Solid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: The 2011 expanded Prospective Payment System (PPS) and contemporaneous Food and Drug Administration label revision for erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) were associated with changes in ESA use and mean hemoglobin levels among patients receiving maintenance dialysis. We aimed to investigate whether these changes coincided with increased red blood cell transfusions or changes to Medicare-incurred costs or sites of anemia management care in the period immediately before and after the introduction of the PPS, 2009-2011. Methods: From US Medicare end-stage renal disease (ESRD) data (Parts A and B claims), maintenance hemodialysis patients from facilities that initially enrolled 100 % into the ESRD PPS were identified. Dialysis and anemia-related costs per-patient-per-month (PPPM) were calculated at the facility level, and transfusion rates were calculated overall and by site of care (outpatient, inpatient, emergency department, observation stay). Results: More than 4100 facilities were included. Transfusions in both the inpatient and outpatient environments increased. In the inpatient environment, PPPM use increased by 11-17 % per facility in each quarter of 2011 compared with 2009; in the outpatient environment, PPPM use increased overall by 5.0 %. Site of care for transfusions appeared to have shifted. Transfusions occurring in emergency departments or during observation stays increased 13.9 % and 26.4 %, respectively, over 2 years. Conclusions: Inpatient- and emergency-department-administered transfusions increased, providing some evidence for a partial shift in the cost and site of care for anemia management from dialysis facilities to hospitals. Further exploration into the economic implications of this increase is necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number53
JournalBMC Nephrology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 26 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Wetmore et al.


  • Anemia
  • Dialysis
  • End-stage renal disease
  • Health economics
  • Medicare
  • Red blood cell transfusions


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