Reimbursement rates for kidney dialysis have steadily decreased and may be indirectly causing more patient hospitalization and deaths, the Institute of Medicine said in a report released Wednesday.

The institute, which is part of the National Academy of Sciences, recommended no more payment cuts for dialysis and urged an extension of the dialysis-transplantation program for end-stage renal disease (ESRD), or kidney failure, so that it covers all citizens and resident aliens on an equitable basis."Kidney Failure and the Federal Government," written by a 16-member Institute of Medicine committee, reviewed the 18-year-old program established by the Social Security Amendments of 1972. Currently, 150,000 patients with kidney disease are enrolled in the program. Because of a shortage of available kidneys for transplantation, most patients receive dialysis, which mechanically eliminates impurities from the blood during kidney failure.