Announcing Kidney Care First

June 17, 2019

For many years now, across all 50 states, healthcare providers, patient advocates, scientists, and researchers have watched with growing concern as a devastating health crisis flourished with no signs of abating: Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is the ninth-leading cause of death in the United States and affects more than 30 million Americans. Another 726,000 individuals live with the life-altering impacts of End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). It is a costly, silent, monster of an epidemic, fueled by high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, genetics, and the inescapable effects of aging.

But working against what has seemed an overwhelming current at times, a coalition of concerned groups has been methodically studying, collaborating and planning for ways to address the CKD and ESRD epidemic from all angles – to improve the lives of Americans, their health, and better their care. It’s been Kidney Care Partners’ (KCP) mission since we were formed in 2003 – with notable success along the way.

KCP’s efforts over the past 15 years have ultimately led us to this: a renewed vision of the policies and priorities that matter to Americans with kidney disease, at every step in the continuum of care. KCP members are more dedicated than ever to addressing the needs of patients across the full spectrum of the disease cycle, from prevention to transplant. With the kidney disease epidemic reaching crisis levels, it’s our commitment and our responsibility to do what we can for today’s patients – and the future of kidney care in the United States.

Today, we’re proud to introduce Kidney Care First:A Framework For Improving Renal Disease Support and Treatments – a broad look at how, working together with policymakers, we can dramatically improve kidney care nationwide, save lives, and achieve potentially billions of dollars in savings to our healthcare system. It’s the culmination of the past decade and a half of work on behalf of the kidney community, as well as nearly a year of thorough, inclusive, community-wide collaboration among KCP’s 34 member organizations – including patient advocates, kidney care professionals, care providers, researchers, and manufacturers.

Guided by five key pillars, Kidney Care First details how advancing kidney care depends on bolstering our collective efforts toward awareness and prevention, patient empowerment, access to quality care, innovation, and research. Within each pillar, our members have formulated specific policy changes or initiatives aimed at improving kidney care – legislatively, through regulatory changes, or via community engagement.

Kidney disease and failure have proven themselves over the decades to be incredibly complex health conditions – requiring equally complex solutions. We know that it’s simply not enough to focus on dialysis care when a patient has progressed to ESRD. Instead, we need to pour time and resources into delaying or preventing CKD and ESRD, as well as empowering patients with choice and security when it comes to their health coverage – whether that means access to Medigap, expanding the Medicare Second Payer period, protecting charitable premium assistance or ensuring access to hospice and palliative care.

Just as importantly, we’re certain that the bedrock of kidney care in coming years will continue to be quality – and the research, innovations, elimination of disparities and payment stability that must be continually addressed in order to get us where we need to be.

With an epidemic as overwhelming as CKD and ESRD, there’s no one, single answer that can fix it. It will take all of us – working together and speaking powerfully with a united vision – to start chipping away at the damage these diseases inflict on so many Americans. Kidney Care First is a crucial part of that national conversation – and one that KCP is certain can make a lasting impact on the future of kidney care.