By Carrie L., Director of Congressional and State Relations

As 2012 comes to an end, DPC has a lot to celebrate and a lot to look forward to. DPC staff and most importantly our members, have achieved so much this year, bringing awareness to kidney disease issues both in Congress and in their communities!

Patient Ambassadors held dozens of kidney and dialysis awareness events across the country in support of World Kidney Day and other events throughout the year. Patient Ambassadors taught members of their churches and civic organizations as well as youth in schools about the importance of keeping your kidneys healthy. Many Patient Ambassadors attended Kidney Days at their state capitals where they educated state and local lawmakers about public policies related to dialysis patients and treatments. We even sponsored California’s Kidney Day at the Capital event in Sacramento! At the federal level, members sent over 800 letters and emails to their Members of Congress on important policy topics like immunosuppressive drug coverage and preventing additional cuts to Medicare. 30 DPC Patient Ambassadors and members of the Board of Directors joined us in Washington, DC on World Kidney Day to personally meet with their congressional delegations. Of course the event was a great success!

We were quite busy on the advocacy front as well this year holding well over 300 meetings with Members of Congress. DPC cohosted a congressional briefing on kidney health disparities with the Urban League that was attended by congressional staff and at which DPC Board President, Eric Edwards, spoke on behalf of patients. Advocacy campaigns were conducted in 11 states this year on important issues like preserving funding for nutritional supplements and transportation as well as preventing cuts to Medicaid. We also met with officials from numerous Administration offices including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Treasury among others. Through these meetings, we were able to ensure that the Medicare Secondary Payer law will apply in the state health exchanges, allowing dialysis patients to keep or buy private health coverage within the insurance exchanges.

DPC could not achieve as much as it does without the generous and plentiful help of ALL of you! We appreciate all of the great efforts in 2012 and look forward to continued support and more importantly continued success in 2013! Have a safe, happy and healthy holiday season and a fantastic new year!