As National Kidney Month kicks off, more than 220 Voices for Kidney Health advocates are poised to seize the moment by meeting virtually with their lawmakers in Congress as part of the National Kidney Foundation’s ninth annual Kidney Patient Summit. This yearly event represents a unique opportunity for kidney patients and those that care for them to share their stories with key decision makers and communicate how they can best serve the members of the kidney community that they were elected to represent.
Moving kidney policy forward together
This year’s agenda will help give fresh momentum to three key initiatives in the ongoing effort to promote better kidney health and better address kidney disease nationwide through public policy. Advocates will urge their lawmakers to support a federal Living Donor Protection Act (S. 377/H.R. 1255) to both safeguard those who have already served as living organ donors from being denied life, disability, or long-term care insurance; and to help others consider becoming donors and giving the gift of life to someone who needs it.
Summit participants will also ask members of the House of Representatives to sponsor H.R. 5426, the Improving Access to Home Dialysis Act, and urge Senators to serve as champions as we prepare to introduce companion legislation in the Senate. While studies have shown that dialyzing at home can improve patient quality of life and offer greater flexibility than treating in-center, not all patients are afforded the opportunity to do so and frequently face socioeconomic barriers to access. This bill would change that by ensuring all patients are given the education and support they need should they choose to try home dialysis as their mode of treatment.
Finally, National Kidney Month is yet another timely reminder that 37 million Americans have kidney disease, yet 90% remain undiagnosed, with both awareness and innovation around kidney disease lagging. In the most recent federal fiscal year, kidney disease made up 25% of all Medicare costs, but only 2% of the spending by the National Institutes of Health to help fuel research around kidney disease. Summit participants understand it’s urgent that this dynamic change and will be asking federal lawmakers to help bring about that change as they work to allocate critical federal budget dollars.
Our 2022 Summit will once again take place in partnership with kidney patient groups that represent a range of kidney disease conditions including the Alport Syndrome Foundation, Home Dialyzors United, IGA Nephropathy, the Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Foundation, and Nephcure Kidney International. These partners are joined by KPS sponsors that include CareDX, Horizon Therapeutics, and Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. NKF and our summit participants are united in thanking each of these for their invaluable support in making this impactful event possible.