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Kerry Announces New Legislation to Protect Patients, Improve Access to Treatment

Press Release

Location: Boston, MA


Bill ensures those with immunodeficiency disease have access to life-saving treatments

Senator John Kerry today announced that he is introducing "The Medicare IVIG Access Act" which will protect patients who suffer from primary immunodeficiency disease (PIDD). The bill will ensure that PIDD patients, who suffer from debilitating and sometimes fatal illnesses, receive quick access to life-saving treatments, spend less time in the hospital and lead healthier, more productive lives.

Currently, Medicare beneficiaries needing intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) treatments are experiencing access problems - an unintended result of the way Medicare has determined the payment for IVIG. Many doctors cannot purchase the products at Medicare reimbursed rates and as a result, patients are experiencing delays in receiving this life saving treatment.

Kerry's bill will fix the current problems, by seeking to improve the quality of life for PIDD patients by improving reimbursement procedures for patients who are in need of IVIG treatments. It will also allow for home treatments and provide coverage for related items and services currently excluded from home treatments.

"Patients with primary immunodeficiency disease should not have to suffer because of bureaucracy and red tape in Medicare. Thousands of people are in need of immediate access to life-saving treatments and my bill will ensure they get it in the quickest way possible," said Senator Kerry.

Kerry announced his new legislation this morning at the blood drive sponsored by Team Hope on Sunday in Chelmsford. Team Hope is dedicated to raising awareness, funding, and support for those with Primary Immunodeficiency Disease in the New England area.

"Team Hope and the PIDD community are so grateful to Senator Kerry for all he has done for us since we started working with him. His leadership gives us all so must promise and hope that we'll finally be able to get those with PIDD the treatment they so desperately need," said Team Hope activist and mother, Stefani Bush. Stefani's two children have PPID.

Nearly 70% of PIDD patients use IVIGI to maintain their health and quality of life. PIDD are disorders in which part of the body's immune system is missing or does not function properly. These diseases are caused by intrinsic or generic flaws in the immune system and not by outside factors.

Kerry, a senior member of the Finance Committee, will advocate for inclusion of the bill in the Committee's expected Medicare legislation this year.

The following groups support Kerry's Medicare IVIG Access Act:
The Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF)
GBS/CIDP Foundation International
Jeffery Modell Foundation (JMF)
Platelet Disorder Support Association (PDSA)
National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF)
Clinical Immunology Society (CIS)
Specialty Pharmacy Coalition
Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA)
ASD Healthcare

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