On July 10, 2019, NKF welcomed more than thirty patients, families, and providers to Washington, DC for an event launching the Advancing American Kidney Health Initiative. In remarks delivered at the event, the President identified the fight against kidney disease as a core national priority and said that the administration is “determined to get [kidney patients] the best treatment anywhere in the world.”
Following his remarks, the President signed an Executive Order (EO) establishing that it is the policy of the United States to prevent kidney failure through better diagnosis, treatment, and incentives for preventative care, increase alternative treatments for ESRD, encourage the development of the artificial kidney, and increase access to kidney transplants. If these policies sound familiar, it’s because NKF’s incredible patient advocates have been relentlessly driving for a national spotlight on these issues, which will improve the care and quality of life of the 37 million Americans with kidney disease.
A report released on the same day by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) laid out three bold goals through which to achieve the administration’s vision for transforming kidney care:
- To reduce the number of Americans developing ESRD by 25 percent by 2030 through improved efforts to prevent, detect, and slow the progression of kidney disease.
- To aim for 80% of new American ESRD patients receiving dialysis in the home or receiving a transplant by 2025.
- To aim to double the number of kidneys available for transplant by 2030.
The report, Advancing American Kidney Health, defines the roadmap by which HHS will target its goals. The report outlines the public health projects that HHS will support in its efforts to reduce the risk of kidney failure and the steps HHS will take to give patients greater access to home dialysis and transplantation, increase organ recovery, reduce the discard rate, and increase the number of living donors by removing financial disincentives for organ donation.
The Executive Order lays out timelines for actions that the federal government will take to achieve its goal of transforming how kidney disease is prevented and treated. The Executive Order directs the Secretary of HHS to launch a kidney disease awareness initiative within 120 days, take steps to promote the development of a wearable or implantable artificial kidney within 120 days, propose new regulations for the oversight of Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) within 90 days, streamline the process of kidney matching to reduce discards within 180 days, and propose new regulations to remove barriers to living organ donation within 90 days.
The President estimated that, as a result of these actions, “an estimated 17,000 additional Americans could receive kidneys that they desperately need.”
The Order also directs HHS to conduct a pilot on whether changing how providers are paid can lead to earlier identification and treatment of patients who are at high risk for disease progression and higher rates of home dialysis and transplantation. HHS is already making progress on this element of the initiative! The proposed regulation that would enable this pilot, known as the ESRD Treatment Choices Model, was published yesterday. We will publish specific details about the model on the blog later this week. The order also instructs HHS to develop a learning collaborative to identify best practices for increasing the supply of kidneys available for transplant.
Later in the event, the President invited patients to share their kidney stories, several of whom expressed hope that the policies announced would “provide much better care and treatment for the millions and millions of Americans living with kidney disease” and “help families navigate the renal care system with less confusion and more ease.”