This year’s Kidney Patient Summit was the biggest and best yet. With nearly 150 advocates from six organizations taking Capitol Hill by storm, they met with 31 lawmakers and 148 health policy staff to push three priorities: early detection for CKD, living organ donation, and more funding to battle kidney disease.
Specifically, advocates urged Members to support a pilot program which seeks to improve early detection, care and outcomes for people with chronic kidney disease (CKD); co-sponsor the newly introduced H.R. 1270, the Living Donor Protection Act (LDPA), which would prohibit discrimination in life, disability or long-term care insurance for living organ donors and protect jobs by adding living donation to the Family Medical Leave Act; and support funding for CKD programs run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and Health Resources and Services Administration.
From last Monday’s workshops and meals to Tuesday’s departure to the Hill meetings, the camaraderie was evident among the group sharing smiles, photos, and a love for their orange scarves. Tuesday’s press conference, which featured NKF’s CEO Kevin Longino, Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Representative Brett Guthrie (R-KY), kidney patients and living donors, spoke of the urgent need to increase living organ donation and protect living donors. The speakers stood united with heartfelt stories of how they, and their loved ones, have been affected by kidney disease and kidney problems in childhood.
At the core of the Summit was the need attack CKD from both sides – passage of the LDPA and legislation to create a demonstration program to promote early detection of CKD. The thought of donating a kidney to someone in need to save a life, only to lose your job because you needed time to recover from surgery, was a key rallying cry amongst the advocates. KAC has brought the LDPA and the need for funding early detection to the attention of Congress, but now we need YOUR voice to protect living donors. Help us with our advocacy efforts during National Kidney Month:
1. Join us by urging your members of Congress to support the LDPA: http://advocacy.kidney.org/action-view/?sl=living-donor-protection-act
2. Take to social media and message your members of Congress’s account. You can find these accounts at http://advocacy.kidney.org/2017-summit-social-media-toolkit/
3. Follow NKF on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, use the hashtag #MyKidneysMyLife and repost our messages.
Thank you for your support! Together, we can help Congress pass The Living Donor Protection Act—the 100,000 Americans waiting on a kidney transplant right now are counting on us.