In 2021 advocates from across the country worked to ensure that a pro-kidney health agenda moved forward at every level possible, while NKF ensured that these Voices for Kidney Health had the resources and support that they needed during challenging times.
First and foremost, we’ve continued to stress with relevant state and federal leadership the importance of prioritizing our kidney community as COVID-19 vaccines and additional booster shots became available. Particularly for our immunosuppressed population, proceeding with the utmost cautious is paramount and the support of elected officials and other key decision makers is crucial to helping them navigate the ongoing pandemic.
Working at every level
On the legislative front, we continue to collaborate with congressional kidney champions in Washington to drive support for a federal Living Donor Protection Act, which currently has official support from more than 100 bipartisan cosponsors in the House of Representatives and Senate. We also worked to help introduce a bill to expand access to home dialysis and increase the likelihood that those patients who want to make use of it are guaranteed success in doing so. We look forward to advancing both bills as Congress returns to work after the new year.
In statehouses across the country, advocates continued to drive positive momentum, as six more states passed their own versions of Living Donor Protection Acts, and three more voted to officially establish a Chronic Kidney Disease Task Force that would convene key stakeholders and make formal recommendations on how policymakers can best serve the kidney patient population.
Driving better kidney policy
In collaboration with the American Society of Nephrology, our joint task force issued recommendations on how to combat inequality in CKD diagnosis and treatment and establish a more accurate to way to measure kidney function without using race. We similarly advised the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on how best to regulate dialysis facilities in a way that promoted health equality and addressed existing disparities, while also pushing for more patient-centric care and access to home dialysis for those that want it.
Finally, we continue to advocate wherever possible for improved detection of kidney disease and the treatment of CKD as a public health priority. Our research roundtables, which convened experts from across the kidney community, similarly issued a research roadmap for Congress that will better inform public perception of kidney disease and lead to new ways of treating it, benefiting every patient regardless of where they are on their kidney journey.
We encourage every advocate to either get involved or continue their involvement on our Voices for Kidney Health action page, and by ensuring that everyone who represents you understands the importance of joining us in the movement toward better kidney policy nationwide.