Kidney Community Encourages Lawmakers to Recognize National Kidney Month by Advancing Bipartisan Legislation to Improve and Expand Access to Kidney Care
March 5, 2018
Kidney Care Partners Lauds Passage of Bipartisan Budget Deal expanding Medicare benefits for Dialysis patients; Calls for Passage of “Chronic Kidney Disease Improvement in Research and Treatment Act”
WASHINGTON, DC — Kidney Care Partners (KCP) – the nation’s leading coalition of patient advocates, kidney disease professionals, dialysis care providers, researchers and manufacturers – today marked the beginning of National Kidney Month, a month dedicated to raising awareness and improving prevention and treatment of chronic kidney disease, by calling on lawmakers to bolster their support of Americans with kidney disease and kidney failure.
KCP applauds federal lawmakers for their recent passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act, which will improve and expand Medicare coverage for individuals living with kidney failure. To continue forward momentum, KCP members encourage lawmakers to further their commitment to Americans living with kidney disease by supporting the “Chronic Kidney Disease Improvement in Research and Treatment Act” (H.R. 2644/S. 1890), which would improve research and treatment of this life-threatening disease.
Currently, over 30 million Americans either have some form of kidney disease or are at risk of developing kidney failure in the future. And each year, more than 118,000 are diagnosed with ESRD and will eventually require a kidney transplant or dialysis services.
The budget deal (H.R. 1892), passed last month by the Senate and House, included provisions that provide thoughtful, patient-centric policies that will expand the use of home dialysis therapy through use of telehealth services; expedite patient access to quality dialysis care at newly certified facilities; and extend authority for Special Needs Plans (C-SNPs) without interruption in care.
If passed, the bipartisan, bicameral “Chronic Kidney Disease Improvement in Research and Treatment Act” would take another significant step forward for those living with kidney disease. The bill, introduced in the Senate by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) and in the House by Reps. Tom Marino (R-PA), John Lewis (D-GA), and Peter Roskam (R-IL), would further elevate care, expand access and promote research to the more than 660,000 Americans living with kidney failure.
“By supporting increased research, expanded patient choice, and improved care coordination, quality and care outcomes, our elected leaders will ensure that millions of individuals living with chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease have the resources and care they deserve,” said Dr. Allen Nissenson, chair of KCP. “We look forward to working with lawmakers to ensure passage of the Chronic Kidney Disease Improvement in Research and Treatment Act.”
In addition to the much-needed changes to the Medicare benefit for dialysis patients included in the budget deal, HR. 2644/S.1890, would also:
- Strengthen federal research efforts by requiring the Department of Health and Human Services and Government Accountability Office to issue several reports and recommendations to Congress, among them: how to increase kidney transplantation rates; how palliative care can be utilized to improve the quality of life for individuals with kidney disease; and, how to better understand chronic kidney disease in minority populations.
- Improve patient care and quality outcomes by maintaining an economically stable dialysis infrastructure and modernizing quality programs. The bill also creates incentives for health professionals to work in underserved areas and rural communities.
- Ensure Medigap coverage for beneficiaries with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and allow individuals with kidney failure to retain access to private insurance.
To learn more about the “Chronic Kidney Disease Improvement in Research and Treatment Act” and how it would improve kidney care in the U.S., click here.