The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) applauds Senators Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) for introducing legislation that seeks to expand access to high-quality care for chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients. The Chronic Kidney Disease Improvement in Research and Treatment Act of 2019 (S. 1676), introduced on May 23, advances significant steps toward enhancing the care and quality of life of patients with kidney disease.
CKD is a progressive disease often resulting in irreversible kidney failure, known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD), at which point dialysis or a kidney transplant is required to survive. ESRD patients have some of the highest out of pocket costs of any Medicare beneficiaries, especially when they do not have access to supplemental coverage. Expanding access to Medigap policies for all ESRD patients, regardless of age, is a National Kidney Foundation priority. We are pleased that the legislation will address this persistent gap in coverage for kidney disease patients.
The National Kidney Foundation supports the legislation’s expansion of the Medicare kidney disease education benefit to Stage 5 CKD patients who have not yet started kidney replacement therapy. The Medicare kidney disease education benefit provides meaningful information that helps patients understand how to manage kidney disease, their options for treating and living with kidney failure, and how to prepare for kidney replacement therapy. The legislation will ensure that more CKD patients are empowered to make the treatment decisions that are right for them.
The National Kidney Foundation is further supportive of the legislation’s directive to improve care coordination between hospitals and dialysis facilities. Enhancing communication about the health and treatment status of ESRD patients across the multiple providers involved in their treatment may result in improved care and outcomes.
The National Kidney Foundation also supports provisions of the legislation that will modernize quality programs and provide adequate incentives to bring innovative drugs and devices to dialysis patients.
The National Kidney Foundation sincerely appreciates the leadership demonstrated by Senators Cardin and Blunt in introducing this legislation, which will make important contributions to improving the care of kidney disease patients.
About Kidney Disease
In the United States 30 million 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. 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.