Legislation aims to help doctors, patients detect and treat kidney disease earlier
New York, NY—October 2, 2017—The National Kidney Foundation applauds the introduction of landmark legislation
which will help doctors and patients detect and treat chronic kidney disease (CKD) earlier to achieve better patient outcomes. H.R. 3867 introduced late last week by Representatives Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), George Holding (R-NC), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) seeks to establish a Medicare pilot program to help improve care, and outcomes, for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). The legislation seeks to demonstrate that early detection of CKD, combined with effective and coordinated care that engages patients in the decision-making process, can not only improve clinical results but also lower healthcare spending.
“Patients often ask why they weren’t told they had chronic kidney disease long before they ended up on dialysis or on a transplant list for a kidney,” said Joseph Vassalotti, MD, Chief Medical Officer, National Kidney Foundation (NKF) and board-certified nephrologist. “Because CKD has no recognizable signs or symptoms it can go undetected until it is at a very advanced stage. If CKD is diagnosed late, it increases a patient’s chance of dying early or crashing into dialysis with little chance to make informed choices about care,” added Dr. Vassalotti.
H.R. 3867 is the result of a multidisciplinary and collaborative effort that was initiated by National Kidney Foundation. Specifically, the legislation will direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to design a voluntary pilot program that ties Medicare payment to improvements in the early detection of chronic kidney disease and the care these patients receive. The pilot will be practitioner-led, and supported by a multidisciplinary healthcare team.
“Focusing on early detection and better management of CKD will halt or slow the progression of kidney disease and save lives,” said Derek Forfang, who was diagnosed with end stage renal disease 18 years ago. “Dialysis is costly both financially and in the toll it takes on patients and families. H.R. 3867 is a true win-win for patients and taxpayers alike,” he added. Mr. Forfang is a patient volunteer on the foundation’s Public Policy Committee and its CKD Payment Model working group.
In addition, this legislation will provide primary care practitioners and nephrologists with the resources they need to make measurable improvements in the care of people with CKD.
“We applaud Representatives Mullin, Holding, Sanchez and Butterfield for putting the needs of kidney patients first and we look forward to mobilizing our grassroots nationwide and collaborating with medical societies to help generate strong bi-partisan support for the bill,” said Kevin Longino, Chief Executive Officer, National Kidney Foundation and a kidney transplant patient. “Chronic kidney disease affects over 30 million Americans and costs taxpayers over $100 billion a year. If we work together to pass this legislation, we can reduce healthcare spending and ensure better, long-term outcomes for all those affected by kidney disease,” he added.
In October 2016 National Kidney Foundation launched a major initiative, CKDIntercept Summit: Building a Roadmap to Reduce Preventable Kidney Disease. One of the conclusions from the Summit was the need for change in the economics around chronic kidney disease care; the pilot program proposed in H.R. 3867 will specifically address that issue. The conclusions from the Summit are guiding the development of a CKD Roadmap for Change. The Roadmap will inform primary care practitioners, as well as health networks, commercial payors, government, laboratory partners, technology industry experts and others about strategies to overcome CKD in the U.S. healthcare system.
Kidney Disease Facts
30 million American adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease
—and most aren’t aware of it. 1 in 3 American adults are at risk for chronic kidney disease. Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and family history of kidney failure. People of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. African Americans are 3 times more likely than Whites, and Hispanics are nearly 1.5 times more likely than non-Hispanics to develop end stage renal disease (kidney failure).
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive and longstanding organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease. For more information about NKF visit www.kidney.org.