Washington D.C. – Congresswoman Carol Miller (R-WV) participated in a Ways and Means Committee Hearing titled “Enhancing Access to Care at Home in Rural and Underserved Communities” to examine the benefits of technologies that allow patients to access health care at home.

Congresswoman Miller began by discussing the importance of at home dialysis for those with End Stage Renal Disease, especially in rural areas.
“As a mother and grandmother who had her hands full without any health complications – hearing your testimony about juggling being a mother, having a full-time job, and having to commute three times a week to receive dialysis is extraordinary to me. While I’m sorry that was ever your reality, I applaud the strength and grace that you showed in taking care of your health and your family simultaneously. As a patient that dialyzed in-center and now at home, can you compare the two experiences? What was most difficult about making the transition to dialyzing at home?” asked Congresswoman Miller.
“There were many different parts of [being in a center]. A lot of the patients were very ill and didn’t want to be there, so the experience of going to in center compared to going at home. The impact on your emotional health and mental health is indescribable and you can’t really calculate that… it has an impact on your physical health as well. Being at home, I was able to see an improvement in my health from that standpoint. There was also the sense of autonomy and control that you regain of your own life which also has a positive impact on how you’re feeling about things and how it was an improvement on my life and disposition,” responded Ms. Maddox, who is a Home Dialysis Patient.
Congresswoman Miller highlighted her Increasing Access to Home Dialysis Act and asked how Medicare coverage was helping Ms. Maddox.
“I’m working on a bill with Congressman Blumenauer that aims to increase access to home dialysis by providing trained, professional staff assistance to patients in their homes. The bill will ensure that all patients are given the education and support they need to utilize home dialysis if they so choose. I’m thrilled to hear that staff training helped you be able to dialyze at home, and I’m hopeful that my bill will help provide coverage for these services to more ESRD patients. Ms. Maddox, can you share what your experience was like navigating Medicare coverage for your training and dialysis at home?” asked Congresswoman Miller. 
“It was learning experience for me and a lot that I had to learn on the fly and through trial and error. I learned that Medicare is required for people who are in dialysis for a period of time. So even though I maintain my health care coverage and my main insurance coverage through my employer, I was still required to have Medicare and I learned that I continued had to pay a premium for that coverage, even though it wasn’t my it wasn’t my choice. I also learned that I had to maintain that coverage to stay active on a transplant waiting list. It’s difficult experience but understand why I had to do it,” responded Ms. Maddox.

Story Provided by Congresswoman Carol Miller


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