New York, NY, July 10, 2019—Today President Trump announced a bold vision for transforming kidney care for the estimated 37 million Americans affected by kidney disease. During a speech at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center attended by National Kidney Foundation (NKF) volunteers, patients, care partners and leadership, government officials and other kidney organizations, the President laid out the Administration’s detailed plan to help increase living organ donation, deceased organ donation, increase earlier detection and earlier care of chronic kidney disease (CKD), and increase incentives to develop new and cutting-edge treatments for kidney disease, including advancing home dialysis.
“The Administration’s commitment to charting a new course for kidney health will help revolutionize transplantation and dialysis and advance new innovations, therapies and treatments which patients everywhere have been waiting on for far too long,” said Kevin Longino, CEO of National Kidney Foundation and a kidney transplant patient. “Kidney care is, for the first time in decades, experiencing a renaissance that can transform the lives of millions of Americans while also saving taxpayers billions of dollars. NKF is grateful to the Administration and our bi-partisan Congressional champions who are elevating kidney disease as a national priority.”
The Administration’s plan includes five alternative payment models for coverage of kidney disease treatments, including incentives for transplantation and slowing progression of kidney disease, home dialysis and earlier care of kidney patients; expanded financial assistance to living donors to cover lost wages and dependent care during donation and recovery; new measures for organ procurement organizations (OPOs) to help increase transplantation; efforts to reduce the number of kidneys discarded, efforts to advance the development of an artificial kidney, and a public awareness campaign to reach the at-risk population and also help increase living organ donation.
In January, 2019, NKF released a comprehensive path forward for increasing kidney transplantation which included many of the key aspects the President announced in his speech today. In the plan, NKF outlined necessary steps to expand financial assistance offered to living organ donors to cover all expenses related to organ donation, align Medicare and Medicaid Reimbursement to healthcare providers to ensure earlier treatment and care for CKD patients, implement a demonstration program at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation that would take a patient-centered approach to testing changes in payment and care delivery, permanently extend Medicare coverage of immunosuppressive drugs for kidney transplant recipients, reduce the discard of kidneys that could be used to provide better outcomes and quality of life for patients, and make key improvements to organ procurement organization (OPO) procedures.
"The time is now for the entire kidney community to embrace the momentum of today’s announcement, work with the Administration and Congress to advance policies which can significantly benefit kidney patients and their families, and together change the current trajectory of kidney care,” said Holly Kramer, MD, MPH, President of National Kidney Foundation.
About Kidney Disease
In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease (CKD) – and most aren’t aware of it. 1 in 3 American adults is at risk for CKD. Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a family history of kidney failure, and being age 60 or older. People of African American, Hispanic, Native-American, Asian or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. African Americans are about 3 times more likely than Whites to develop end-stage kidney disease (ESKD or kidney failure). Compared to non-Hispanics, Hispanics are almost 1.3 times more likely to receive a diagnosis of kidney failure.
More than 726,000 Americans have irreversible kidney failure and need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. More than 500,000 of these patients receive dialysis at least three times per week to replace kidney function. Nearly 100,000 Americans are on the waitlist for a kidney transplant right now. Depending on where a patient lives, the average wait time for a kidney transplant can be upwards of three to seven years. Living organ donation not only saves lives, it saves money. Each year, Medicare spends approximately $89,000 per dialysis patient and less than half, $35,000, for a transplant patient.
About National Kidney Foundation Living Organ Donation Resources:
THE BIG ASK: THE BIG GIVE platform, which provides nationwide outreach, is designed to increase kidney transplantation through training and tools that help patients and families find a living donor. It includes direct patient and caregiver support through our toll-free help line 855-NKF-CARES, peer mentoring from a fellow kidney patient or a living donor, online communities, an advocacy campaign to remove barriers to donation, and a multi-media public awareness campaign. All resources are free and designed to teach kidney patients, or their advocates, how to make a “big ask” to their friends, loved ones, or community to consider making a “big give,” a living organ donation.
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.