PASS H.R. 4814, The Chronic Kidney Disease Improvement in Research and Treatment Act

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My name is James Myers. I am someone from Northwest Indiana who is affected by chronic kidney disease. I ask for your support of H.R. 4814, The Chronic Kidney Disease Improvement in Research and Treatment Act introduced by Representatives Tom Marino (R-PA) and John Lewis (D-GA).

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a progressive disease that may lead to premature death or kidney failure. Over 26 million Americans have CKD, but most are unaware they have it and another 73 million are at risk. Nearly 616,000 Americans have ESRD and more than 430,000 rely on life sustaining dialysis. The only treatment options for kidney failure are a kidney transplant or dialysis. Since 2000, the number of patients who have been diagnosed with kidney failure has increased 57%. Individuals with high blood pressure, diabetes, a family history of kidney failure or over age 60 are at higher risk of kidney disease. H.R. 4814 aims to promote chronic kidney disease (CKD) research and education, expand care coordination efforts, and protect access to care for dialysis patients.

The bill calls on the Secretary of Health and Human Services to provide a report on the biological, social, economic, and behavioral factors that lead to the progression of CKD in minority populations, as well as a review of treatment patterns for minority populations. In addition, the bill calls for greater coordination of federal research programs focused on kidney disease. African Americans are disproportionately impacted by kidney disease and are more likely to die prematurely or progress ESRD. These research provisions will help us better understand where gaps in research still exist so we can better target research efforts to address them.

For those who have progressed to the later stages of kidney disease education can empower patients to take action to slow their progression and make better informed choices about treatment options, like transplantation and home dialysis, should their kidneys fail. Unfortunately, the Medicare kidney disease education benefit is under used. This legislation takes steps to ensure more patients are able to benefit from the education.

The legislation also expands insurance options and care coordination efforts for patients. Currently, dialysis patients are prohibited from enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan. Sometimes these plans offer lower costs-sharing, more comprehensive benefits and better care coordination than traditional Medicare. In addition, special needs plans with tailored benefits for dialysis patients will expire next year unless Congress acts. These plans also offer care coordination benefits and lower out-of-pocket costs for most of the services dialysis patients require. Dialysis patients should have the same options as other Medicare beneficiaries and this bill will help do ensure they do. The bill also creates a dialysis care coordination program and requires hospitals to send dialysis facilities the medical information they need to prevent patients from further discomfort, illness, premature death and readmission to the hospital.

Please stand with me and support kidney patients by cosponsoring H.R. 4814 The Chronic Kidney Disease Improvement in Research and Treatment Act. Write your Congressperson today!

James W. Myers, III

Advocate, National Kidney Foundation for the State of Indiana

Ambassador, Dialysis Patient Citizens

Ambassador, PKD Foundation

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