Congress, Kidney Disease and the Conversation that Needs to Happen

NKF's Chief Medical Officer speaks at a briefing with Congressional staff members on Capitol Hill

NKF’s Chief Medical Officer speaks at a briefing with Congressional staff members on Capitol Hill

“Kidney disease is not dialysis; dialysis is a treatment for kidney failure,” said Dr. Joseph Vassalotti, the National Kidney Foundation’s (NKF) Chief Medical Officer, at a briefing with Congressional staff members on Capitol Hill earlier this week.

Dr. Vassalotti’s comments come at a time when lawmakers on the Hill and policymakers at Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are focused on treatment and payment for end-stage kidney disease care in the United States.

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Kidney Action Committee is off to a Busy Start! (July Update)

By Troy Zimmerman, Vice President, Government Relations, NKF

The members of NKF’s Kidney Action Committee (KAC) were eager to roll up their sleeves and get going in their new roles. First up, our liaisons were asked to draft letters to the editors of their local papers to raise awareness about the need for increased research funding for kidney disease.  Our goal was to highlight the importance of investing in research and programs to improve early detection of kidney disease, slow progression and improve access to kidney transplantation.  This is a cost-effective strategy with the power to save lives, kidneys and money. Continue reading

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Victory with Passage of 21st Century Cures Bill

Cures Bill is ApprovedWe’re pleased to announce that the 21stCentury Cures Bill has passed in the House of Representatives with a 344-77 vote. The bill guarantees increased NIH funding over five years and will ensure greater investment in research, including research on kidney disease.

Here are some of the key provisions that were included in the 21st Century Cures Bill:  Continue reading

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Must Act Today! Support 21st Century Cures Bill to Spur Research and Innovation for all Patients

By Troy Zimmerman, Vice President, Government Relations, NKF

Call your U.S. Representatives and ask them to vote yes on H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act. While no provisions specific to kidney disease are included in the 21st Century Cures legislation, this bill sets the stage for addressing barriers to develop treatments and potential cures for diseases where therapies are currently limited – such as they are for kidney disease. The bill also increases research funding for the National Institutes for Health (NIH), where important research for kidney disease is conducted and funded under the National Institutes for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

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The Kidney-Heart Connection

Not many people know that healthy kidneys and healthy hearts are intrinsically linked.  In fact, a recent study conducted by Johns Hopkins University and funded by the National Kidney Foundation found that kidney function can be a better predictor of heart attacks and strokes than standard cholesterol and blood pressure tests.

This is yet another reason why we need greater awareness of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and a concerted effort by primary care practitioners to test for CKD among those at highest risk – including individuals with diabetes, hypertension, age over 60, and a family history of kidney failure.

Because the kidney-heart connection is so important to overall health, the National Kidney Foundation has partnered with the Million Hearts Initiative – a coalition of groups and individuals working to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.  We encourage you to read NKF’s commitment to the Million Hearts Initiative.

You can also help us save kidneys, hearts, and lives.  Raise awareness among the general public about the importance of our kidneys by sharing our EverybodyPees campaign with your social media network.  This campaign highlights the important role of urine screening to keep kidneys, and hearts, healthy.  You can also sign up for our Advocacy Action Center to be alerted to opportunities to let your Members of Congress know how they can help drive greater prevention of kidney disease, which will also help us reduce heart attacks and strokes for years to come.

heart kidney

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Patients Living Longer on Dialysis

By Kerry Willis, PhD, NKF Chief Scientific Officer

Over 450,000 Americans with kidney failure depend on dialysis to stay alive, and since 1999 survival rates have continued to increase among this highly vulnerable population, as summarized in the United States Renal Data System 2014 Annual Data Report (USRDS 2014 ADR).[i] This is a significant achievement made possible through the ongoing collaborative efforts of healthcare professionals, academics and the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), who work together to make improvements in the care of individuals living with kidney failure.

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Kidney Patient Advocacy Has a New Face — 60 of Them

advocatesThe National Kidney Foundation (NKF) has launched a new patient advocacy and engagement program to expand its grassroots network at the state level.

The Kidney Action Committee is comprised of 60 patient liaisons, including one from each state, who are personally affected by kidney disease. These individuals will use their experience to advise government agencies, research organizations, and policy and health organizations on kidney disease. They will also provide input on the development of NKF public policy positions and the implementation of kidney disease education programs.

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National Kidney Foundation Applauds Proposal to Address Chronic Disease Care

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is pleased with the Senate Finance Committee’s announcement, under the leadership of Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), to lower healthcare costs and improve care for individuals with multiple chronic illnesses.

According to the committee, the vast majority of Medicare dollars are spent caring for patients living with multiple persistent, chronic health conditions like chronic kidney disease (CKD). The variety of services required for this care can often be uncoordinated and costly.

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Support Federal Funding for Kidney Disease Research and Programs

By Kevin Longino, Interim Chief Executive Officer, National Kidney Foundation

Each year, federal funding for kidney disease must be appropriated by Congress.  Important work is being done at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), and the Health Services and Resource Administration (HRSA) to advance kidney disease research and improve access to kidney transplantation.  However, this work can’t continue or grow without funding.  This is why we need your help. Please email your members of Congress and request that they increase federal funding for kidney disease research and programs.

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NKF Unites with other Chronic Disease Organizations to Improve Patient Care

Advocates on Capitol Hill raise awareness of patient needs

Advocates on Capitol Hill raise awareness of patient needs

Did you know that the number one cause of death, disability and rising health care costs in the US is chronic illness? Diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, and depression affect the quality of life for 145 million people—that’s almost half of all Americans. And this number rapidly continues to rise. Despite these scary statistics, the challenges facing patients with chronic disease is not well known to the general public or policymakers. On April 16th, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) will join together with the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) on Capitol Hill for the Talk2Patients Advocacy Day to increase awareness about patient needs and the rising rate of chronic diseases.

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