KCP’s Diverse Coalition Can Lead The Way
February 15, 2022
My wonderful dad died of a brain aneurysm at the age of 59. Before passing, while on life support, the doctors discovered he had polycystic kidney disease (PKD). This was stunning news to our entire family, and I’m sure would have been a surprise for my dad as well, had he survived. He had been living with kidney disease and didn’t even know it.
While PKD is largely an inherited disorder, fortunately, tests showed no one else in our family had the condition. We were lucky, but perhaps even more so because we all had access to early screening. Today, more than 20 years later, I’m honored to take the helm of our nation’s largest kidney care coalition and can’t help but wonder…how many more out there are going about their daily lives not knowing they have kidney disease? And how many millions more don’t even know they are at high risk for it?
It doesn’t have to be this way. One of KCP’s top priorities is to expand kidney disease awareness and education, and legislation supported by KCP would do just that. The Chronic Kidney Disease Improvement in Research and Treatment Act (S.1971/H.R. 4065) would, among other things, expand the Medicare annual wellness benefit to include kidney disease screening and increase access to the Medicare Kidney Disease Education Benefit.
These two provisions alone would allow millions of our most vulnerable citizens to be routinely screened for kidney disease during their annual check-up with their primary care physician and to receive the necessary education to reduce their risk. Imagine how many lives could be extended if people could limit the progression of their kidney disease or reduce their risk altogether before “crashing” into dialysis – which is too often the first time an individual is even aware they have a problem.
There is so much work to do, and this is just one aspect of kidney care that KCP is committed to improving. I’ve been a patient advocate my entire career, and the diversity of our non-profit coalition – from patients and their care providers to therapeutic innovators, manufacturers, researchers, transplant coordinators and dialysis professionals – gives me great hope that working together, we can make it optimally better for the more than 37 million individuals living with some form of kidney disease.
While this is my first foray into the kidney care space, I’ve been in the health policy and advocacy arena for many years and have learned there is one most important theme common to all patients – the need for equitable access to affordable, quality care. I’m truly excited that KCP can help achieve this – because of our diversity — and strongly believe we can lead the way for the millions of individuals living with kidney disease- whether they’re currently aware of their disease, or not. I’m rolling up my sleeves. I hope you will, too. Let’s go!