March is National Kidney Month; passing bipartisan legislation would help millions of Americans
March 10, 2022
The impact kidney disease has on patients and our health care system cannot be understated. To put it in perspective, there are more than 37 million people in the United States with kidney disease. This is roughly equivalent to the entire population of California. Even worse, more people will die from kidney disease this year than breast or prostate cancer. Given the staggering number of people chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end stage renal disease (ESRD) affects, it is imperative we continue to modernize and update federal policies to ensure those with kidney disease are able to access the care they need and enjoy the best quality of life possible.
Those living with kidney disease face challenges on many different fronts. Whether it is accessing a donor kidney for transplant, choosing between home or in-clinic dialysis while juggling a job or family responsibilities, or accessing Medicare coverage for treatment, the constellation of challenges for this population adds an additional layer of stress to an already challenging chronic condition. And the gravity of the situation extends even further as this disease disproportionately impacts communities of color and patients with ESRD are often poorer and sicker than other Medicare beneficiaries. The pandemic of the past two years has also exposed the vulnerabilities of CKD patients to COVID-19. Because of their compromised immune systems, they are more likely to be hospitalized and die from the virus.
Our job as advocates for kidney disease patients is as important as the population it affects. For Kidney Care Partners (KCP), complex issues like these are what motivates us to initiate positive changes for these vulnerable patients. We must continue to help patients access evolving therapies and treatments — including vaccinations — that will protect their health during this pandemic and beyond. It’s also important that, when appropriate, individuals with kidney disease have the choice and full access to critical and innovative treatments in the home setting, when possible, to best manage their disease condition.