Kidney Community Lauds Federal Legislation Aimed at Equal Access, Education and Preventive Care for Kidney Disease Patients

Jun 22, 2012, 17:06 ET from Kidney Care Partners

Rep. John Lewis' introduction of "Kidney Disease Equitable Access, Prevention, and Research Act" seeks to assist nation's 400,000 kidney failure patients

WASHINGTON, June 22, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kidney Care Partners (KCP), a broad-based coalition of patient advocates, dialysis professionals, care providers and manufacturers working together to improve quality of care for individuals with chronic kidney disease and end stage renal disease, praised Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) for his introduction this week of a bill supporting research to improve access to care, expanding education and preventive care and ensuring patient choice for the more than 400,000 Americans with kidney failure. 

The introduction of the Kidney Disease Equitable Access, Prevention, and Research Act of 2012 (H.R. 6011) underscores efforts to ensure access to quality care for all individuals diagnosed with kidney failure – also known as end stage renal disease (ESRD) by researching and addressing barriers to receiving this life-sustaining treatment, including transportation issues and any other factors that lead to disparities especially among minority populations. Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) introduced similar legislation (S. 2163) in March of this year which reflects a majority of the key provisions. 

Each year, more than 100,000 Americans are diagnosed with ESRD and require a kidney transplant or dialysis -- usually three times a week for several hours at a time for the rest of their lives -- in order to survive.  Today, more than 400,000 people in the United States are living with kidney failure and are often very sick due to related conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, the leading causes of kidney failure.   Thirty one million other Americans have some form of kidney disease and are at risk of developing kidney failure absent some form of disease management education or preventive care.

Rep. Lewis' legislation seeks not only to improve access to care for those living with kidney failure but also to expand preventive and educational services offered to kidney patients. It also supports ongoing quality improvement efforts by the kidney community in the Medicare ESRD program by calling on the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to report on ways to improve care management metrics. 

In addition, the legislation would help improve health disparities among minorities, especially African Americans, by directing the HHS Secretary to evaluate and report on the biological, social, and behavioral factors that affect care. Chronic Kidney Disease hits minorities disproportionately, with African Americans affected at a rate nearly three times that of Caucasians, and while African Americans make up just 12 percent of the U.S. population, they comprise 30 percent of the kidney failure patients receiving dialysis.

"I applaud Rep. Lewis for his long-time leadership and ongoing efforts to protect this vulnerable patient population," said KCP Chairman Ron Kuerbitz. "The Kidney Disease Equitable Access, Prevention and Research Act would ensure that all kidney patients have the tools, resources and care they need to live life to the fullest today and tomorrow."

About Kidney Care Partners

KCP is an alliance of patient advocates, dialysis professionals, care providers and manufacturers dedicated to working together to improve quality of care for individuals with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).

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SOURCE Kidney Care Partners