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Kidney Care Partners and National Minority Quality Forum Call for Prevention Programs in Disease 'Hot Spots'
Date:3/11/2009

- National Kidney Month Briefing Reveals Majority of New Kidney Failure Cases Consistently Found in Small Number of Communities at Disproportionate Rates -

WASHINGTON, March 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kidney Care Partners (KCP) -- an alliance of patient advocates, dialysis professionals, care providers and manufacturers working together to improve the quality of care for individuals with kidney disease and kidney failure -- in partnership with the National Minority Quality Forum, unveiled data today, on the eve of World Kidney Day, identifying disease "hot spots" and called for prevention and education resources dedicated to these high risk areas.

At a briefing on Capitol Hill, Kidney Care Partners, in conjunction with the National Minority Quality Forum, made available a Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Atlas, which provides data showing that each year the same communities dominate the nation in new cases of kidney failure.

Approximately 26 million Americans live with kidney disease. The rising rates of widespread kidney disease risk factors -- such as diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure -- are driving those numbers higher. CKD, when left untreated will progress to ESRD, commonly known as kidney failure. More than 400,000 Americans have been diagnosed with ESRD, 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 and Native Americans. While African Americans make up just 12 percent of the general population, they account for 30 percent of people with kidney failure.

"Our Chronic Kidney Disease Atlas can pinpoint where new cases of kidney failure are the highest every year," said Dr. Gary Puckrein, CEO and Founder of the National Minority Quality Forum, a research and educational organization dedicated to ensuring that high-risk racial and ethnic populations and communities receive optimal health care. "Our analysis provides an opportunity to put prevention programs in places that can have direct effects on slowing the progression."

For example, Puckrein said, out of 38,000 zip codes across the country, the Forum's data shows that 50 percent of all new cases of kidney disease occur in just 2,800 zip codes or areas representing just 13 percent of the U.S. population. According to this same data, identifiable neighborhoods within metropolitan areas such as Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington, DC and parts of smaller cities such as Richmond, Virginia, Flint, Michigan and Jacksonville, Florida lead the nation in new cases of ESRD each year.

"Our partnership with the Forum will enable us to make available data on the reach and the rise of CKD and ESRD by region, by state, by congressional district, by city -- even by zip-code and neighborhood," said Kent Thiry, Chair of Kidney Care Partners. "Our partnership with the Forum will also enable us to use this data to educate those at highest risk of developing CKD and the general public about preventative measures."

KCP and the Forum used the briefing as an opportunity to reach out to Members of Congress and offer data on how many of their constituents are suffering from kidney disease and kidney failure.

"With the Forum, we can help each of our Representatives and Senators understand the real-life consequences of this disease in their districts, their states and their hometowns in hopes of putting programs in places that will help to eliminate health disparities across the country," said Thiry.

The data illustrated that many parts of the country in racially diverse and economically challenged areas are hardest hit by this disease and could benefit the most from awareness and prevention programs, according to KCP and the Forum.

"We have the opportunity to understand patients' needs at the community level and put in place programs that can go far in keeping many of these patients off dialysis," Puckrein added.

With current budgets, both public and private, severely strained, KCP and the Forum pointed to this data as an opportunity for elected officials to get the maximum benefit from existing resources. Using state-of-the-art methodologies, KCP and the Forum are working collaboratively to provide an opportunity for policymakers to target resources so that the appropriate levels of support get to communities that have specific needs -- potentially improving patient care while reducing cost.

"Coalition-building, solid research, the sharing of information and a strong commitment to evidence-based programs will not only ensure efficiencies, but will also help eliminate health disparities," said Puckrein.

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

The Chronic Kidney Disease and End Stage Renal Disease Atlas can be found at www.Z-atlas.com. It is available to registered users.

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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