Kidney Care Partners Supports Trump Administration’s Executive Order on Kidney Care

July 10, 2019

Washington, DC – Kidney Care Partners – the nation’s largest kidney coalition consisting of patient and patient advocacy groups, researchers and clinicians, providers and manufacturers –today praised the Trump Administration’s announcement to increase focus and investment on the kidney disease epidemic in America, which affects more than 30 million Americans. The kidney care community welcomes the increased spotlight on promoting innovations in kidney care and improving patient outcomes, which provides a unique opportunity for partners in the public and private sectors to collaborate. KCP has valued its continued work with the White House, HHS and CMS on efforts to improve the lives of those living with kidney disease. Together, we brought the first value-based program, the ESRD Quality Incentive Program, to Medicare. Today provides us with another exciting opportunity.

KCP welcomes the increased focus on early education, prevention, choice, and incentivizing innovations in kidney care, which will ultimately improve patient outcomes.   KCP is also pleased that the Administration’s kidney initiative closely aligns with KCP’s recently published Kidney Care FIRST (A Framework for Improving Renal Disease Support & Treatments). Further, KCP has long maintained that private-public partnerships are needed to ensure that Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients receive optimal care and are able to live quality lives.

KCP supports efforts to:

  1. Increase patient modality choice. Our members have worked to remove barriers to accessing home dialysis, which include establishing the Kidney Disease Education program through which clinicians can promote modality choices, aligning of home and in-center payment rates to eliminate disincentives for providing home dialysis, and promoting changes to coverage policies to support home hemodialysis.
  2. Develop policies that allow for respite care and other support for caregivers in the home, and for patients who need to adapt their homes to allow use of home dialysis.
  3. Increase organ availability to increase the number of patients who receive a transplant. KCP’s recommendations include incentivizing transplant through performance measurement and standardizing criteria for waitlist placement to eliminate the selection bias for only those patients most likely to have a successful outcome.

The U.S. health care system can and should do better helping patients obtain needed kidney transplants and receive home dialysis. Health care providers at all levels need to understand how to do that in the context of the diverse and often sicker U.S. population, as opposed to the more homogenous populations of other nations.

KCP is committed to respect the desires and interest of patients in selecting the modality they believe will work best for them, as well as working with the Administration to develop an appropriate path that will move us closer to the aspirational targets the President has referenced today.

KCP looks forward to working with the Administration to address the ongoing social and economic barriers to patients choosing home dialysis, as well. While educational efforts and provider-based incentives are important tools, they are not enough. In our support for greater access to in home dialysis, it is important to maintain funding for a wide array of safe, affordable, and high-quality patient options for kidney care as well. In addition, more needs to be done to address shortages in home dialysis supplies and any steps taken to encourage increased dialysis supplies would also be welcomed. Further, since many kidney patients suffer from multiple chronic diseases and medical conditions, fostering a climate of coordinated care is essential.

KCP also stands with the Administration on broad programs including KidneyX to promote additional research and incentivize innovations in kidney disease. Though rates of kidney disease in America outpace cancer and heart disease, it currently receives less than 1.88% of government investment research and innovations by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which equates to less than 1% of cost of care, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. However, supporting research is only the first step. Once the research has produced a promising new therapy, there must be a stable reimbursement pathway to make sure that patients can access these innovations.

The announcements today serve also as a strong platform for building momentum for the community’s Kidney Care FIRST framework for the future of kidney care. This visionary initiative, designed to improve patient outcomes and generate significant healthcare savings, addresses the critical areas to significantly improve the lives of individuals with chronic kidney disease, kidney failure, and kidney transplants. In tandem with the Administration’s support and collaboration, Kidney Care FIRST is slated to achieve improvements in kidney care nationwide by focusing on five major pillars: awareness and prevention; patient empowerment; quality and access to quality care; innovation; and, research.

Today’s executive order comes as Congress discusses new legislation that will also improve kidney care. The bipartisan Chronic Kidney Disease Improvement in Research and Treatment Act of 2019 (S.1676), introduced by Senators Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), will help millions of individuals living with chronic kidney disease and ESRD achieve the quality of life they want and deserve, if passed.

KCP looks forward to continuing working with the Administration and Congress to put patients first and thanks them for their leadership in advancing kidney care. Through this collaborative effort, we are optimistic that kidney patients will live longer, healthier lives—improving patient outcomes and generating substantial savings for the U.S. healthcare system.