WASHINGTON, D.C., (September 16, 2020) — Dialysis Patient Citizens (DPC) today applauded introduction of the BETTER Kidney Care Act (H.R. 8254/S. 4574) by Senators Todd Young (R-IN) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) along with Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3) and Jason Smith (R-MO-8). This bill would enhance access to care coordination services for thousands of patients across the United States currently living with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).
“We applaud Senators Young and Sinema along with Representatives Blumenauer and Smith for introducing the BETTER Kidney Care Act. We are grateful for their continued leadership and efforts to improve the lives of Americans who suffer from kidney disease,” said DPC Board President Andrew Conkling. “A study released in Health Affairs last week found a much higher survival rate for dialysis patients who participated in care coordination. With this legislation dialysis patients will have someone in their corner fighting for them, because if they aren’t doing everything they can to keep patients healthy then they are on the hook financially for any added complications.”
“This legislation will change the status quo and fundamentally transform our current healthcare system for kidney patients from sick care to a system where providers are incentivized to keep their patients healthy,” added Conkling. “The BETTER Kidney Care Act represents a significant opportunity for Congress to improve outcomes for patients living with ESRD as well as reduce costs, and we hope to see legislators build upon care coordination’s historically robust support from both sides of the aisle to pass this bill.”
Coordinated care is essential for improving the overall care of ESRD patients. Given that a significant percentage of patients with ESRD also suffer from additional health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and more, they often need to see several different health care providers and take multiple medications. Specifically, better care coordination would help patients with scheduling doctors’ appointments, reviewing their medication regime, dealing with any problems that may come up with their dialysis access site, addressing other comorbidities to avoid preventable amputations and strokes, taking preventive steps to avoid hospitalization, and much more. By establishing a system in which one entity takes responsibility for the overall care of their dialysis patient, the BETTER Kidney Care Act would help to keep patients healthy, prevent unwanted complications, and reduce overall healthcare costs.
Following in the footsteps of the Dialysis PATIENTS Demonstration Act in 2017 – which saw broad bipartisan support from more than 200 cosponsors across both chambers of Congress – this new legislation builds on the previous framework, while providing more opportunities for dialysis providers and other entities to facilitate care coordination for their patients.