By Stephen C., Administrative Assistant

Hello all! I hope everyone’s doing well and you’re all ready for a wonderful (renal-friendly) holiday season. This week, I wanted to share my experience visiting the kind folks at ESRD Network 11 in Milwaukee for their annual meeting. I had a great time talking with nurses and patients about everything we do at DPC.

I think my favorite moment during the whole event was when a nurse approached our table and asked me if we were doing anything about immunosuppressant drug coverage for transplant patients. She explained that the lack of immunosuppressant coverage was causing newly transplanted kidneys to fail unnecessarily soon, making her former patients (those that had received transplants) current patients again.

I got to explain that this issue is one that DPC has been working on for a long time and how during the 112th Congress we gathered a record number of cosponsors for the Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2011. It was great to realize that someday our hard work on the bill could pay off and there will be very real, tangible benefits to transplant patients.

Aside from important policy questions, many of the nurses in attendance were interested in our kidney-shaped stress balls (squeezy kidneys). They’re great for patients with new fistulas. I didn’t realize there was such a shortage of fistula-building tools in centers across the country. Since the conference, I’ve sent a couple hundred squeezy kidneys back to centers across the Midwest. If you know that your provider is out of fistula aids, just us call at our main toll-free number and we’ll gladly send you some.

All in all, it was a great trip. It was my first time getting to interact with patients and nurses, and I can’t wait to do it again!