Following last week’s searing events on Capitol Hill, NKF is working to both support our longtime legislative champions during this challenging time and planning for the new Congress, where we’re excited to build on the kidney health victories that our advocates helped secure throughout 2020.
After passage of the Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2019 late last year, our eighth annual and second all-virtual Kidney Patient Summit will take place on Tuesday, March 2nd. Participants will be emphasizing the importance of continuing to make policy strides for kidney patients, specifically by increasing funding for kidney awareness programs, increasing access to home dialysis for those who can make use of it, and finally passing a federal Living Donor Protection Act to ensure those who give the gift of life don’t see diminished insurance coverage as a result.
We’re also working with state lawmakers across the country as legislatures reconvene for their 2021 sessions and after several states passed their own living donor protection bills last year. Meanwhile lawmakers in other states are focused on establishing kidney task forces that will bring together key stakeholders from both the public and private sectors, and pave the way for additional victories for kidney patients down the road.
As COVID-19 vaccines are distributed, we’ve also continued communicating with the public leaders responsible for distribution. Just prior to the holiday season we issued a statement in which we urged the federal government to prioritize kidney patients and kidney care professionals, along with residents of long-term care facilities and health care workers, in receiving access to COVID-19 vaccines to reduce their increased risk of severe morbidity and mortality caused by the novel coronavirus.
For those who might have additional questions about the various COVID-19 vaccines or concerns about getting one once available, please check out our Facebook Live question and answer session from earlier this week with NKF’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joseph Vassilotti, MD.
Additional advocacy wins from last year can be found below. Thanks again to every advocate who had a hand in making these victories possible and setting the stage for an even more momentous 2021.