August 20, 2015 |
Manitoba has become the first province in Canada to offer a Home Hemodialysis Utility Reimbursement Program.
Manitoba’s Health Minister Sharon Blady made the announcement Thursday, August 20 alongside Manitoba Renal Program, who manages the province’s kidney health care, and Kidney Foundation of Canada Manitoba Branch, who will be administering the reimbursement.
“Utility costs can add up for patients who undergo hemodialysis treatment at home, and we will be there to reimburse additional costs,” said Minister Blady. “We hope the new supports will enable more patients to undergo hemodialysis treatment in the comfort of their own home, and enjoy a better quality of life.”
The announcement took place at dialysis patient Mukhtiar Singh’s home. Singh has been undergoing home hemodialysis since 2009 and has been on various types of dialysis since 1996. Singh is one of many patients who advocated for the creation of a reimbursement program.
“It’s a historic kind of announcement – a pioneering step. I am sure others will follow and this will make the home hemo choice more popular,”
Singh said. “It’s a win-win situation. Patients feel better, they live longer, less medication, less hospital visits. The [home hemodialysis] program saves millions of dollars if we reach our potential.”
Home dialysis treatments are less expensive than hospital dialysis, reducing the need for hospital space and requiring the support of fewer healthcare workers. Home dialysis can also be beneficial to patients offering greater independence through managing and scheduling dialysis treatments, less travel to hospital, less exposure to infection, better blood pressure and phosphate level control and fewer dietary restrictions.
“There are numerous benefits to home dialysis and, with the support of this new program, we hope to see even more people able to utilize home dialysis moving forward,” says Dr. Mauro Verrelli, Medical Director of Manitoba Renal Program.
Details of the program are still being finalized with a goal launch date of October 1. Reimbursement rates will be based on home hemodialysis schedules and machines utilized.
While various forms of home dialysis have been available in Manitoba since the early 1970s, it wasn’t until the 2000s that the technology became more user-friendly and transportable. Manitoba Renal Program launched a redesigned home hemodialysis program about eight years ago and has seen a continuous increase in home hemodialysis use since that time. Types of home hemodialysis include ‘conventional’ (three times a week), nocturnal (nightly) or short daily (two-three hours daily).
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