By Amanda Crowley-Rios, Program Director; Lorna Hankins, Executive Director – NKF Serving Texas
South Texas residents have one of the highest incidences of kidney disease in the country, and like many who are at-risk or living with kidney disease, they are largely unaware of their condition. Diabetes, the leading cause of kidney disease, is prevalent in this region where Hispanics comprise 39% of the state’s population and their genetic predisposition to diabetes makes them about 1.5 times more likely to develop End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) than non-Hispanics. Improving kidney health in Texas presents a unique challenge because of its broad and ethnically-diverse population and because it comprises a very large geographic area with many rural areas that are medically-underserved.
In response to the health needs of The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) Serving Texas, through its partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Healthy Kids Healthy Families Grant, is making great strides in expanding health services in rural Texas areas where resources are limited, and quality healthcare is a challenge. This partnership has supported NKF’s KEEP (Kidney Early Evaluation Program) Healthy Program’s effort to screen more than 3,000 Texans for kidney disease.
The free KEEP screenings, the centerpiece of NKF’s fight against kidney disease, also include preliminary medical consultation and educational resources. BMI and blood pressure checks, along with urine testing, help to identify those at risk. In Southeast Texas, bilingual resources and a follow-up care coordination network are provided to make it easier for residents to take control of their health and the health of their families.
NKF’s presence and impact in South Texas and other communities throughout the state, will be further enhanced by the recent collaboration with Caring Foundation of Texas. Through this partnership brought about by Blue Cross Blue Shield Texas, NKF was granted the use of a CareVan for its screening and educational efforts around the state. The CareVan enables travel, medical supply storage and service to Texas communities that is accessible, affordable and possible. NKF is now able to reach populations and communities it could not have reached prior to its partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield Texas.
The fight against kidney disease is an uphill journey. The NKF, working with its partners, continues to go where it is most needed to ensure that all Texans have the benefit of good health and great healthcare.
To learn more about our partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield Texas, please visit https://connect.bcbstx.com/in-the-community/b/weblog/posts/bridging-the-gap-in-kidney-care