I am a lifelong Oregonian and suffer from stage 5 chronic kidney disease, meaning I depend on dialysis to live. Through my treatments, I’ve seen first-hand the importance of coordinated care for myself and others with end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

Care coordination is a system where each of a patient’s health care providers proactively share information with each other, including what treatments they prescribe and what follow-up care they provide. This helps improve care for the patient, especially those with ESRD, and also ultimately lowers costs for both the patient and their providers.

Unfortunately, many patients don’t get that level of coordination, and their care is compromised by inefficient processes, including inadequate communication and long delays between doctor referrals. This is especially dangerous during the COVID-19 pandemic, since ESRD patients are at a particularly high risk of being seriously affected by the virus.

That’s why we need members of Congress to support the Better Kidney Care Act. It will institute better coordinated care, enhancing the lives of the 6,418 Oregonians and 661,000 Americans affected by this deadly, life-changing disease.

ESRD patients are underrepresented and need leaders to support this legislation. Thankfully, Oregonians have been frontrunners in leading helpful reforms, including our state’s own U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, who played an instrumental role in spearheading the Dialysis Patients Demonstration Act in 2017.

Now, the Better Kidney Care Act offers an opportunity for my representative, Suzanne Bonamici, and Oregon’s other congressional leaders to join in improving dialysis care.

Lisa Custer, Beaverton