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Kidney Care Partners Raises Alarm on Racial Disparities in Kidney Disease; Joins With National Minority Quality Forum to Educate Public, Congress During National Kidney Month
Date:3/3/2009

- Patient Advocates and Broader Kidney Care Community,in partnership with the Forum, Unveil Disease "Hot Spots" -

WASHINGTON, March 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kidney Care Partners (KCP) - an alliance of patient advocates, dialysis professionals, care providers and manufacturers working together to improve quality of care for individuals with kidney disease and kidney failure - today expressed alarm regarding the racial disparity among those suffering from Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), otherwise known as kidney failure. KCP, as part of its efforts to recognize March as National Kidney Month, announced that it has joined forces with the National Minority Quality Forum to raise awareness about this disparity and to ensure access to quality dialysis care throughout the United States.

The partnership between Kidney Care Partners and the Forum will help dialysis providers and kidney care stakeholders fulfill their common mission of education about the rising epidemic of chronic kidney disease and the importance of improving the delivery of and access to quality care.

The Forum is a research and educational organization dedicated to ensuring that high-risk racial and ethnic populations and communities receive optimal health care. This nonprofit, nonpartisan organization integrates data and expertise in support of initiatives to eliminate health disparities. Founded in 1998 by Gary Puckrein PhD, the Forum supports national and local efforts to eliminate the disproportionate burden of premature death and preventable illness in racial and ethnic minorities and other special populations.

"Our partnership with Kidney Care Partners will enable us to localize data on Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) prevalence and End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) incidence by various cohorts, identify trends, and forecast risk." said the Forum's Puckrein. "It is this kind of information that can have far-reaching effects on improving the delivery of optimal care to diverse populations."

In the United States alone, 26 million Americans suffer from kidney disease and the rising rates of widespread kidney disease risk factors - such as diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure - are driving those numbers higher. And CKD, when left untreated will progress to End State Renal Failure (ESRD), commonly known as kidney failure. ESRD is an irreversible condition which is fatal without a kidney transplant or lifesaving dialysis treatments.

The most at-risk groups for developing kidney failure include African Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, seniors (those 65 and older), and anyone with a family history of CKD. While African Americans make up just 12 percent of the general population, they account for 30 percent of people with kidney failure.

According to data released by the Forum, Chicago neighborhoods in the 60620 zip code lead the nation in new cases of kidney failure. Neighborhoods outside Los Angeles and in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Jacksonville, Baltimore, Detroit, New York City and in Los Angeles follow closely behind as disease "hot-spots" according to a top-twenty breakdown of newly diagnosed ESRD cases in zip-codes nationwide.

"Currently, more than 400,000 Americans suffer from ESRD and that number is expected to double in the next decade," said Kent Thiry, Chairman of KCP. "The most effective ways to prevent the onset of kidney failure are earlier detection and better disease management initiatives."

Last year, Congress approved with the strong support of the kidney community, the "Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act," (MIPPA) which includes provisions critical to improving care for patients with kidney disease and kidney failure, including the creation of patient education programs to help patients better manage their kidney disease to delay the onset of kidney failure and prevention initiatives to educate Americans about how to avoid developing it.

To better treat the growing numbers of patients with kidney failure - projected to increase by 85 percent between 2000 and 2015, according to a 2005 study in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN) - the legislation enacted in 2008 also establishes a continuous quality improvement initiative that will provide dialysis facilities and treating physicians with quality-based payments funded through a portion of an annual cost of care update.

"National Kidney Month in conjunction with our partnership with the Forum presents the kidney community with a unique opportunity to raise awareness of the more than 20 million Americans suffering from some form of kidney disease," said Thiry. "As we have seen all too often, many people do not know they have kidney disease until they are facing kidney failure - and with greater access to patient data and the recently enacted education provisions in place, we will have the power to stem this rising tide."

To learn more about Kidney Care Partners, visit http://www.kidneycarepartners.com.

About Kidney Care Partners

Kidney Care Partners is an alliance of patient advocates, dialysis professionals, providers and manufacturers working together to improve the quality of care for individuals with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).


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SOURCE Kidney Care Partners
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