High-risk patients have been one of the focal points of the public response to COVID-19. Now, as our leaders continue responding to this epidemic, they must pay particular attention to the impact their decisions will have on patients with end-stage renal disease, or ESRD, who rely on dialysis treatments to live. 

Living with ESRD poses many unique challenges, as even common infections like the flu can be seriously dangerous for these patients. Many also suffer from additional health issues that compromise their immune systems, putting them further at risk. 

However, ESRD patients’ treatment plans are often hindered by a lack of coordination among their nephrologist, primary care doctor, and other providers. That’s why it is critical that Congress continues work on a new bill called the BETTER Kidney Care Act, which would establish a framework for more coordinated care and help patients cut back on both appointments and medical costs.

Thankfully, Iowa representatives, including my own member of Congress, Cindy Axne, have shown a strong record on helping dialysis patients and transplant recipients. With leadership from representatives on both sides of the political aisle in Washington, Congress can pass solutions like the BETTER Kidney Care Act and help struggling dialysis patients in Iowa and across the U.S. 

— Jim Edvenson, Des Moines