NKF Recognizes HHS Secretary Leavitt and Federal Government For Success of ESRD Program

HHSWashington, DC (August 15, 2005) - In a gesture of thanks to the federal government for the tremendous success of Medicare’s End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) program, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) presented a proclamation to HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt on behalf of chronic kidney disease patients and their families.

The proclamation was presented by kidney transplant recipient Alice McCall of Marshall, Virginia, at a meeting held at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C.

Dolph Chianchiano, Senior Vice President of Health Policy for NKF, emphasized the Foundation’s involvement in every step of the evolution of Medicare coverage for kidney patients, including the creation of the Medicare ESRD program, as well as expansions and improvements to the HHS program. The NKF has worked closely with federal agencies and Congress and its volunteers serve on federal advisory panels and committees.

In a separate statement, NKF CEO John Davis also praised the success of the Medicare kidney program. “Hundreds of thousands of Americans have been kept alive, through kidney dialysis or kidney transplantation, as a result of this federal program,” Davis said. “Too often we fault government for what it fails to do, and this is an example of a program that works and has been saving lives for more than 30 years.”

McCall, a nurse from Marshall, Virginia, is a member of NKF’s new patient empowerment initiative, People Like Us, which was launched in May 2005. Through People Like Us, kidney patients and their families are becoming empowered and proactive advocates on public policy and other issues affecting their lives.

“It was an honor for me to thank the government for a program that enabled me to receive dialysis treatments for 10 years and then a kidney transplant which helped me move on with my life,” McCall said. “I feel that we as kidney patients are survivors, and it is our shared responsibility to work and serve as advocates not just for ourselves, but for this community as a whole, essentially for People Like Us.”

“Early detection and advocacy are critical when it comes to improving healthcare for chronic kidney disease patients,” Troy Zimmerman, NKF Director of Government Relations, said. “NKF’s Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP) and NKF’s efforts to establish a chronic kidney disease program at the Centers for Disease Control are at the heart of that effort.”

The National Kidney Foundation is dedicated to preventing kidney and urinary tract disease, improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by these diseases, and increasing the availability of all organs for transplantation. For more information, visit www.kidney.org. To learn about People Like Us, email peoplelikeus@kidney.org.