Trump revamps kidney care to spur transplants, home dialysis

11 July, 2019, 15:32 | Author: Wade Massey
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President Donald Trump's executive order on kidney disease care will change Medicare payment models so that people diagnosed with illnesses can get treatment sooner and slow disease progression, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Wednesday. DCI has demonstrated success with the innovative REACH Kidney Care program, which focuses on going upstream and improving the care for people with chronic kidney disease, not on dialysis.

"My order supports the selfless individuals who donate kidneys by granting them reimbursements for extra expenses associated with organ donations such as lost wages and job care", Trump said. "This action will also dramatically improve prevention and treatment for this life-threatening illness while making life better and longer for millions of Americans". In our support for greater access to in home dialysis, it is important to maintain funding for a wide array of safe, affordable, and high-quality patient options for kidney care as well. Removing process inefficiencies in matching and delivery that result in delayed acceptance by transplant centers will reduce the detrimental effects on organ quality of prolonged time with reduced or cut-off blood supply.

Trump estimates his streamlined plan could mean an additional 17,000 kidney transplants, along with an additional 11,000 heart, lung and liver transplants each year. A fraction (6,442) were from living donors, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, which oversees the nation's transplant system.

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. A bonus to kidney specialists who help prepare patients for early transplant, with steps that can begin even before they need dialysis.

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The National Institutes of Health estimates chronic kidney disease affects roughly 14 percent of the USA population. Though rates of kidney disease in America outpace cancer and heart disease, it now receives less than 1.88% of government investment research and innovations by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which equates to less than 1% of cost of care, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. Azar has also previously said the department was looking at ways to modernize payments for patients in the earlier stages of kidney disease. The Trump Administration is clearly aligned with CareDx in its mission to improve the long-term outcomes of kidney transplant patients. In 2018, First Lady Melania Trump underwent surgery to treat a benign kidney condition.

"For decades, across all of American health care and kidney care in particular, the focus has been on paying for procedures rather than paying for good outcomes", Azar said on a call with reporters.

The executive order includes the introduction of five new payment demonstrations, including one that will compel providers to participate. DaVita and Fresenius Medical Care hold 75 percent of the dialysis market share. In anticipation of today's announcement, DaVita stock prices dropped by 5 percent on Tuesday.

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