Nation’s Kidney Community Applauds Introduction of Bipartisan House Bill to Improve and Expand Quality, Access and Choice to Kidney Care

September 18, 2019

Legislation would incentivize innovation, improve care while aligning with ongoing efforts with the kidney community and the Administration to expand and improve access to quality kidney care

WASHINGTON, DC – Kidney Care Partners (KCP) – the nation’s leading kidney care multi-stakeholder coalition, representing patient advocates, physician organizations, health professional groups, dialysis providers, researchers and manufacturers – today applauded the introduction of the bipartisan Chronic Kidney Disease Improvement in Research and Treatment Act of 2019 (H.R. 3912) – a bill to improve the understanding of, and promote access to treatment for, chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease (ESRD). The bill, which was introduced by Representatives John Lewis (D-GA5) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL16) complements similar legislation introduced in the Senate in May.

“The kidney care community is so grateful to Representatives Lewis and Buchanan for their leadership in introducing this legislation, which provides a clear roadmap for the future of kidney care and has the potential to empower and benefit millions of Americans with kidney disease”, said Dr. Allen Nissenson, chair of Kidney Care Partners. “We look forward to continuing to work with lawmakers in both chambers of Congress to support expanded access to and improved quality of care, so that the millions of individuals living with chronic kidney disease, kidney failure and kidney transplants achieve the quality of life they deserve.”

The legislation would:

  • Increase access to the Medicare kidney disease education benefit.
  • Require the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study on the current utilization of palliative care services in treating individuals with kidney disease.
  • Expand kidney care access in underserved areas by adding nephrology health professionals to National Health Service Corps Scholarship and Loan Programs.
  • Improve care coordination for individuals on dialysis by requiring hospitals to provide information to their dialysis providers.
  • Maintain an economically stable dialysis infrastructure while incentivizing innovation for new drugs, biologicals, devices, and other technologies.
  • Improve patient decision making and transparency by consolidating and modernizing quality programs.
  • Guarantee access to Medigap policies to all ESRD beneficiaries, regardless of age or where they live.

This legislation aligns with several ongoing efforts by the Administration, lawmakers, and the kidney care community to expand and improve access to quality care.

Earlier this month, the Trump Administration release a new executive order to increase focus and investment on the kidney disease epidemic nationwide. The executive order sets ambitious goals to further lower the mortality rate for patients, prevent at-risk patients from developing ESRD, improve patients’ quality of life and choices in care, and expand access to lifesaving transplants. To achieve these aims, the Administration will launch a multifaceted approach that offers opportunities for the entire kidney care community to collaborate, including: debuting a new public awareness campaign to educate Americans about chronic kidney disease, reform the organ procurement and management system, examine ESRD payment policies, and expand evidence-based approaches to prevent kidney disease. KCP welcomes this initiative and the increased spotlight on promoting innovations in kidney care to improve patient outcomes.

The Administration’s goals align with KCP’s recently published Kidney Care FIRST Framework, a visionary kidney care roadmap for the future that lays out in great detail a framework to achieve improvements in kidney care nationwide by 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, KCP’s Kidney Care FIRST focuses on five major pillars: awareness and prevention; patient empowerment; quality and access to quality care; innovation; and, research. In addressing the entire continuum of chronic kidney disease, the community is prepared to use this framework as a foundation to improve access, care and choice.

Furthermore, public-private partnerships, such as KidneyX, continue to be crucial in accelerating innovative breakthroughs and setting the bar for kidney care even higher. KCP applauds this new opportunity to work with stakeholders in and out of government to ensure that Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients receive optimal care and are able to live quality lives.

“This is the first time in my 40-year tenure serving this community that we are seeing such close coordination and alignment among the White House, HHS/CMS, Congress and the entire kidney care community.” Dr. Nissensen concluded. “Between bipartisan legislation aimed at Improving and Expanding Access to Kidney Care, an explicit call from the Administration to improve kidney care delivery, a new roadmap to achieve improvements in kidney care nationwide, and ongoing public-private partnership collaborations necessary to achieve these ambitious goals, I believe the future is bright for individuals living with kidney disease, and kidney failure.