As a program coordinator for the Kidney Foundation of Central Pennsylvania, I have made it my life’s mission to help kidney patients manage their condition. I see or hear stories of the inadequate standards of care currently practiced at clinics, hospitals and specialist practices in this country. Many patients I talk to are frustrated and feel like they have been forgotten. We must do better.

The problem lies in the lack of health care workers. A severe lack of funding makes it more difficult to hire and keep doctors, nurses and technicians.

Much of the problem is demographic. With fewer working-aged people in the workforce, we will continue to fall short of the workers required to take care of the increasing number of older Americans.

However, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also has a large role to play. But lately, CMS reimbursements have fallen short. Accounting for inflation, CMS’ reimbursement structure the past few years is essentially a budget cut.

Americans rely on sufficient reimbursements from CMS to stay healthy and cared for. If CMS continues to overlook providers, patients and their staff, then Americans will continue to suffer. CMS must step up.

Lynne Wright, Hampden Township, Pennsylvania