Voices for Kidney Health Advocates Bring the Fight Against Kidney Disease to the Nation’s Capital
(Washington, D.C., – March 2, 2023) — The National Kidney Foundation’s (NKF) 10th Annual Kidney Patient Summit (KPS) begins today in Washington DC. Timed to coincide with the start of National Kidney Month, the event brings patients, kidney donors, and volunteers to meet with lawmakers at the Capitol and ensure the voices of people facing kidney disease are heard. More than 120 Voices for Kidney Health advocates will descend upon the United States Capitol (in person) to help inspire more legislative action on behalf of the 37 million Americans who have kidney disease (also known as chronic kidney disease).
“The Kidney Patient Summit is our opportunity to really demonstrate to lawmakers why new legislation that improves the lives of those with kidney disease is so necessary,” said Kevin Longino, chief executive officer of the National Kidney Foundation and a kidney transplant patient. “With millions of adults in the U.S. living with kidney disease and another 80 million Americans at risk for developing it, we continue to fight for laws that directly address this public health crisis.”
Voices advocates from 37 states, the District of Columbia, and (for the first time) Puerto Rico will share their personal stories and urge Members of Congress and policymakers to advance the following legislative and policy priorities:
Increased investment in priority kidney health programs, including:
- The Chronic Kidney Disease program within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which supports public awareness, prevention, early detection, and treatment of kidney diseases
- The National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) which supports research that could lead to better understanding of kidney disease, reduce disparities in kidney care and drive advances in CKD testing, diagnosis and treatment.
Enactment of the Living Donor Protection Act
- This legislation would protect living donors from discrimination when they seek life, disability, or long-term care insurance. It would remove barriers to donation and shorten transplant waitlists, so more patients receive the gift of life.
- Twenty-nine states have enacted these types of protections to increase living donation, but it needs to be the law of the land.
Support for the Improving Access to Home Dialysis Act
- This legislation will expand access to the training and support that patients need to dialyze safely at home.
Our Voices’ advocates will be joined by advocates from Home Dialyzors United, Nephcure Kidney International, the Alport Syndrome Foundation, IGA Nephropathy Foundation of America, and PKD Foundation to advance public policies that will promote better kidney health for all Americans. The summit and its participants are supported in their advocacy efforts by the following sponsors: CareDX, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Eurofins Transplant Genomics, and Merck.
A pre-summit kickoff and training meeting was held on Wednesday, March 1, to empower advocates, their families, and care partners and help them best use their collective voices and experiences related to kidney disease to champion NKF legislative priorities.
The Kidney Patient Summit is focused on individuals who have kidney disease, dialysis patients, living donors, family members and care partners, all united by the affirmation and hashtag “My Kidney Voice” (#MyKidneyVoice) to underscore the direct relationship between having at least one healthy kidney and living at all. Our Voices for Kidney Health advocates will emphasize this message during personal meetings with their Congressional delegations on Thursday, March 2nd.
Kidney Disease Facts
In the United States, more than 37 million adults are estimated to have kidney disease, also known as chronic kidney disease (CKD)—and approximately 90 percent don’t know they have it. About 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. are at risk for kidney disease. Risk factors for kidney disease include: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and family history. People of Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. Black or African American people are about four times as likely as White people to have kidney failure. Hispanics experience kidney failure at about double the rate of White people.
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S. For more information about NKF, visit www.kidney.org.