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.
Patients from various organizations will have the opportunity to talk directly to legislators to provide insight into how they can improve their quality of care. Chronic diseases are often preventable and highly manageable through early detection, lifestyle modifications, and medical treatment – including lifesaving medications. However, high out-of-pocket costs and limited treatment options make it difficult to obtain much-needed medications. Chronically ill people who depend on medication for their care instead of surgery are often required to pay high out-of-pocket costs (in some cases more than 40% of the total cost). Prescription medications are critical to treating and managing chronic conditions, and failure to take prescriptions leads to an increased risk of hospital admissions and even death.
Equally important is safeguarding the future of scientific discovery and medical innovation. We have made major strides, but there is still much to be done to improve the lives and health of those living with chronic conditions. Continued investment in medical research is essential to finding new treatments and cures. Medications not only help patients live better lives but they also help control health care costs, for the individual and for the health care system by managing symptoms and preventing complications. By supporting and protecting incentives that facilitate the development of new medications and treatment options, Congress is bringing hope to millions of patients across the country.
Follow our Advocacy Day efforts on social media and share your story using the hashtag #Talk2Patients and tagging @NKF.