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    Tricare Will Pay for More Dialysis Services Following COVID-Linked Rise in Kidney Disease

    Tricare Will Pay for More Dialysis Services Following COVID-Linked Rise in Kidney Disease

    Patients with failing kidneys will have more care charges covered at dialysis clinics under a Tricare rule change triggered by the -19 pandemic.

    The kidneys of patients with end-stage renal disease, or ESRD, have stopped functioning well enough to keep them alive, necessitating either three-times-weekly dialysis treatments to filter their blood or a kidney transplant.

    Until now, Tricare coverage at ESRD facilities paid for patients to receive certain services, such as the dialysis, formally called hemodialysis, itself. However, Tricare hasn't covered related services typically billed separately, such as nursing care. The rule, which was effective Jan. 12, permanently extends coverage to those other costs tied to receiving dialysis. The coverage change will not be affected by the ending of the COVID-19 federal public health emergency declaration, due to happen this spring.

    Kidney problems are one of the many lingering complications of COVID-19. A study of Department of Veterans Affairs patients found “increased risk of kidney outcomes” when comparing the records of about 89,000 veterans who had survived COVID-19 for at least 30 days past their infection with 1.6 million who hadn't yet had COVID-19. A separate VA study of patients who had been infected with SARS-CoV-2 multiple times found that kidney risk rose after subsequent infections, as did that of other “post-acute sequelae” such as heart disease and…

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