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Kidney Care Partners Urges Greater Kidney Disease Education and Legislative Support During National Kidney Month
Date:3/10/2008

- Coalition of Patient Advocates and Kidney Care Professionals Cites Growing Incidence of Kidney Disease, Lack of Information for Americans on How to Manage It -

WASHINGTON, March 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In recognition of National Kidney Month, a time dedicated to educating Americans about the risks and impact of kidney disease, Kidney Care Partners (KCP) is urging Congress to support legislation that would ensure improved access to high-quality kidney care and create critical patient education programs for those at risk of facing kidney failure.

One such piece of legislation, the Kidney Care Quality and Education Act (S. 691 and H.R. 1193), introduced in Congress last year, would establish programs to educate patients about kidney disease risk factors, and teach them how to better manage their condition to help delay the onset of kidney failure. Such programs can help stem the rising tide of kidney disease in the United States - now affecting more than 26 million people nationwide - as well as ensure that kidney dialysis patients have continued access to quality care.

"Approximately 400,000 Americans suffer from kidney failure and must undergo dialysis or receive a kidney transplant to stay alive, and the rising rates of widespread kidney disease risk factors - such as diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure - are driving those numbers higher," said Dr. Edward Jones, Chairman of KCP. "The best way to prevent the onset of kidney failure is to educate patients on how to help slow the progression of kidney disease, which legislation like the Kidney Care Quality and Education Act would do on national and local levels."

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 Kidney Care Quality and Education Act would establish a continuous quality improvement initiative that would provide dialysis facilities and treating physicians with quality-based payments funded through a portion of an annual cost of care update. Dialysis facilities are the only Medicare providers without an annual update to adjust for inflationary cost increases, and the quality initiative would establish a three-year update tied to achieving specific quality benchmarks. Adequate and stable reimbursement is critical to ensuring continued patient access to high quality care.

Kidney Care Partners thanks the Congressional sponsors and co-sponsors of the Kidney Care Quality and Education Act, and hopes to continue working with these supportive legislators to enact legislation that will improve kidney care and help reduce the impact of kidney disease in the U.S. The Senate version of the bill (S. 691), sponsored by Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), now has 26 bipartisan co-sponsors. The House version (H.R. 1193), sponsored by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), has 145 Democratic and Republican co-sponsors.

"We hope to share important kidney disease information with all Americans and gain bipartisan support from Congress for kidney disease education components as it considers any Medicare legislation this year," said Dr. Jones. "As we have seen all too often, many people do not know they have kidney disease until they are facing kidney failure - and with more supportive legislation in place, we will have the power to work together to reverse this course."

To learn more about the Kidney Care Quality and Education Act and how it would improve kidney care in the U.S., visit http://www.kidneycarepartners.com/kcp_act.html.

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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