I Hate Dialysis Message Board

Dialysis Discussion => Advocacy => Topic started by: Meinuk on June 10, 2011, 08:40:22 AM

Title: Adventures on E-bay (yes, this is advocacy!)
Post by: Meinuk on June 10, 2011, 08:40:22 AM
It has been a project to get rid of unused/unwanted Christmas presents that have been collecting dust for the past few years.  Some of them were not cheap (GPS Planetarium?) Others were collectables that were simply not going to be used/displayed (what WAS grannie thinking?). 

We decided to sell them on e-bay as an incentive to teach a teenager that products have value to someone.  She would photograph and style them, and I would post the listing and we would all enjoy the profit (she has an expensive taste for Broadway Scores for the piano). 

Imagine my surprise when I saw that you can donate a % (you choose from 10 - 100)% of the sale to charity, and that the AKF is one of those charities.

I like the AKF  http://www.kidneyfund.org/patient-grants/.  I've looked at their 990's and all their numbers seem ok to me.  I love the fact that they give money as direct relief to people on dialysis.  Besides IHD, I don't donate to many of the other kidney groups, because I simply don't like the way that some are run/administered.  I have always thought of posting my own review of the kidney charities out there, but that'll be a project for another day.

For now, I am just glad to report that e-bay is working with a cause that I care about to make all of our lives better. And this is a simple, easy way to donate found money as far as I am concerned.  Now, I am going back to cleaning out the basement.

from the e-bay listing:

eBay Giving works

50% of the final sale price will support American Kidney Fund (Small deduction may apply.)
About this nonprofit:
The American Kidney Fund provides direct financial assistance to kidney patients in need and education for those with and at risk for kidney disease.

Title: Re: Adventures on E-bay (yes, this is advocacy!)
Post by: BillSharp on June 10, 2011, 09:38:57 AM
Darn good idea. I applaud your generous and charitable spirit.
Title: Re: Adventures on E-bay (yes, this is advocacy!)
Post by: Meinuk on June 10, 2011, 11:13:39 AM
Thank you Bill, but really, this was found money -  I am just glad that it could go somewhere to be put to use.

I received a PM from a friend about this post, with a comment about how the AKF gets their money.  Their financials are no secret, and this is why I am a fan of the AKF.  http://www.kidneyfund.org/about-us/financials/

Yes, the bulk of their money comes from the industry (as does most of the money supplying some of the less transparent "Patient Organizations").  What is questionable is the fact that for profit dialysis providers can contribute "grant" money that is just enough to finance their patient insurance premiums (both private insurance and public insurance premiums).  Not only do the for-profits get a tax write off, but they also are being paid to treat their patients (in many cases, private premiums pay more than the grant contribution).  In a sense, the AKF does act as a way to "wash" this money. But many states have regulations about this practice, and it has become more and more convoluted.  But the fact stands that the AKF is a distribution program, and that directly supports people on dialysis in need.

There is also other money available to people that aren't at the mercy of for-profit dialysis - but, the bulk is still from two specific donors. (we are looking at hundreds of millions of dollars)  Their 990's are posted in the link above (with the contributors redacted - but you know who they are).

Why am I ok with this?

The second that I smell anything other than what I have reconciled myself to, I will slice and dice them like I have others.  But for now, they got my ebay percentage found money, and I am more than ok with it.  The charity clearinghouse took their small percentage too, but all I had to do was tick a check box.  I am all about paying for ease of use.

Because we are living in the morally corrupt world of for-profit dialysis, and people are dying because they can't pay their medical bills.  I can sleep at night knowing that DaVita et al are spending some of their profit so that people can still receive dialysis (after all, you can be thrown out of your unit if you can't pay your co-pay - It can and does happen at an alarming rate). 

And as for my thoughts, when you have coverage, it isn't just for dialysis.  Iin the case of my old Davita unit, anyone who received AKF help with their premiums could pay for the treatments that they needed after DaVita Lifecare gave them Hep C.

I wish that we lived in a world where the AKF didn't need to exist.  I'd still rather send my money to them than to the DaVita Dialysis Patient Citizens, who are nothing but a lobbying arm trying to get more of your tax dollars for payment, because charging $40,000 a month to my private insurance company wasn't enough.  Kent Thiery's DaVita jet needs fuel after all, if he is going to launch his political career.
Title: Re: Adventures on E-bay (yes, this is advocacy!)
Post by: lola on June 10, 2011, 04:32:16 PM
AKF pay's for Otto's medicare, THANK GOD!!!!!
Title: Re: Adventures on E-bay (yes, this is advocacy!)
Post by: Meinuk on June 11, 2011, 05:31:15 AM
The AKF can't keep up with the need, and people are losing benefits.  We need reform.  First, we need pricing transparency.  For-profit Dialysis Corporations are like slimy used car salesmen, rigging their billing numbers to fit insurance policies.  Insurance companies are raising their premiums because of this price gouging and there is not enough money to pay for everyone.

The answer isn't "give more money" the answer is, "make it less expensive".  How can Kent T. sleep at night in his Medicare Mansion with his DaVita jet in the hangar when people are dying because they can't afford the 20% not covered by medicare?

I don't believe that this is because of the AKF.  I believe that this is because the industry has gotten greedy and out of control.

Okarol just posted a new topic about people no longer being covered by AKF Grants for Medigap because the premiums are too expensive. 

Discussion here:
Dialysis patients question coverage cuts
Title: Re: Adventures on E-bay (yes, this is advocacy!)
Post by: Meinuk on January 05, 2012, 05:51:49 AM
Well, it is time to re-think the AKF.  (Bolding my emphasis)

Finally, someone is asking WHY the LDOs are gouging insurance companies.

And yes, the AKF is complicit.


Oregon officials grill dialysis companies and the American Kidney Fund about high costs, transplants

With dialysis bills for Oregon Medical Insurance Pool patients surging from $7 million to more than $20 million in the last three years, the OMIP board Wednesday grilled executives from the two largest dialysis companies and the American Kidney Fund over high rates and a policy that discourages kidney transplants.

The public meeting in Wilsonville provided the first forum in which state officials could directly question the nation's leading dialysis companies as well as the nonprofit they largely fund.

The OMIP board members were concerned about the skyrocketing costs, but also about the kidney fund's transplant policy, which cuts off premiums for patients if get a transplant.

Sue Sumpter, a board member, called the policy "exceptionally troubling," saying the patients appear to be "used and exploited."

As a result of the policy, "They are prisoners to dialysis for their rest of their lives," she said. A transplant vastly improves quality of life, relieving patients from the grueling four-hour, three-times-a-week dialysis sessions, and enables them to start working again.

LaVarne Burton, president and CEO of the kidney fund, defended the practice, saying the kidney fund has limited resources and can pay for dialysis premiums, but not for premiums that would pay for a transplant and the drugs and aftercare. She said the nonprofit views dialysis patients as the most needy people it can help.

Board members cited figures showing dialysis companies charge OMIP dialysis patients as much as 15 times what they charge Medicare. Dialysis companies said that's because they lose money on Medicare rates, which are set by federal law. But the high rates also means the program's patients can hit their $2 million OMIP coverage limit in a few years, leaving them without health insurance.

"That rate structure needs to be reexamined as to what the community reasonably can be expected to bear," said Robert Gluckman, a Portland physician who sits on the OMIP board.

The Oregon Medical Insurance Pool covers roughly 12,000 people who can't get insurance anywhere else, largely due to pre-existing conditions. Established in 1990, its goal remains to contain spending by keeping people out of costly emergency rooms.

About 70 people in OMIP get dialysis, and about 50 of them have premiums paid by the Maryland-based kidney fund.

In November The Oregonian reviewed records indicating the kidney fund receives 80 percent of its $220 million budget from the two largest dialysis chains, DaVita, Inc and Fresenius Medical Care. The kidney fund then uses that money to pay dialysis premiums. Dialysis providers are barred by federal anti-kickback law from paying them directly.

The kidney fund pays OMIP's premiums, which are $7,600 per patient per year on average. The state program then pays a dialysis company $300,000 a year on average, according to state records.

Representatives of Fresenius and DaVita,who provide dialysis to more than 90 percent of the Oregon dialysis market, defended their contributions to the kidney fund as legal. They said they were willing to entertain negotiations with OMIP about lower rates or other cost control measures.

"We'd like to have those conversations," said Jean Stevens, a Fresenius regional vice president.

Another OMIP board member, Jared Short, who serves as president of Regence BlueCross BlueShield, told a DaVita representative that OMIP wants rates far closer to those paid by Medicare.

"That's our formal request to you here publicly today. And we'd appreciate a response," Short said.

"I will pass that up the chain, as it were," said John Westover of DaVita.

The OMIP board voted to appoint a subcommittee to discuss polices to rein in costs, including potentially barring the kidney fund from paying premiums for OMIP patients.

The committee will report back in 90 days. Burton, the president of the kidney fund, said the proposal would block the nonprofit from helping OMIP patients and have a devastating impact. She encouraged the board to work with the kidney fund to curb costs, saying, "This is the beginning of a conversation."

-Nick Budnick