HHS Sec. Azar: Trump Order Advances Kidney Disease Care

Elias Hubbard
July 11, 2019

"We've been investing in capabilities to deliver holistic care that addresses our patients' needs beyond kidney disease, such as mental health, social services and nutrition". Almost 97,000 people are on the kidney transplant waiting list today, but in 2018 fewer than 22,000 kidney transplants were performed because there were not enough organs for all. Kidney disease accounts for roughly one in five dollars spent in Medicare, totaling $113 billion in 2016.

The administration is also looking to double the number of kidneys available for transplant by 2030, in part through a public awareness campaign and by compensating donors for things like lost wages and child care. DCI clinics offer in-center hemodialysis, home hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis and support to hospital programs around the U.S. DCI founded REACH Kidney Care to provide strategies to manage chronic kidney disease to help delay the progression of kidney disease and provide education and care coordination to those transitioning into kidney failure. And while any transplant is preferable, one from a living donor is best because those organs "work better, longer and faster, " Tevar said. "That changes today thanks to President Trump's leadership". Delivering in-home dialysis could be a significant cost saver, since just 12 percent of kidney patients begin dialysis at home. The model should adjust payments based on the percentage of a participating provider's attributed patients who either are on home dialysis or have received a kidney transplant and should include a learning system to help participants improve performance. Early intervention often leads patients who need dialysis to choose the best treatment option for their lifestyle and reduces hospitalizations.

As the nation's leading independent nonprofit working on behalf of the 30 million Americans with kidney disease, the American Kidney Fund is dedicated to ensuring that every kidney patient has access to health care, and that every person at risk for kidney disease is empowered to prevent it. AKF provides a complete spectrum of programs and services: prevention outreach, top-rated health educational resources, and direct financial assistance enabling the nation's low-income dialysis and transplant patients to access lifesaving medical care. Patients typically must spend hours three or four times a week hooked to machines that filter waste out of their blood. By 2025, the goal is to have 80% of people with newly diagnosed kidney failure getting one of those options, officials said. "DCI and REACH Kidney Care have enjoyed the opportunity to exchange ideas with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid innovation team", stated Johnson.

Other initiatives will require new regulations, expected to be proposed later this year.

CareDx, Inc., headquartered in Brisbane, California, is a molecular diagnostics company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of clinically differentiated, high-value diagnostic solutions for transplant recipients. Details about who pays and who qualifies still have to be worked out. Clearer ways to measure how well the nation's 58 organ procurement organizations collect donations from deceased donors.

"Some OPOs are very aggressive and move forward with getting organs allocated and donors consented, and there are those that are a little more lackadaisical about it", said Pittsburgh's Tevar.

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