I wanted to thank you for your advocacy efforts in support of extending immunosuppressive drug coverage for transplant patients. Earlier this week, President Trump signed into law much needed legislation that will provide kidney transplant recipients with insurance for anti-rejection medications beyond the current 36 months of Medicare coverage currently available to them.
This effort was a top priority for DPC when I joined the organization nearly a decade ago, and we continued to press for passage along with the broader kidney community. While our mission is to improve dialysis patient quality of life, our Board (which consists entirely of ESRD patients) explained to me when I joined DPC that: while many dialysis patients may never be eligible, the hope of a transplant some day is often what helps to keep a lot of us going especially on “the bad days.” This new law will provide hope for so many ESRD patients by:
- Helping to increase dialysis patient access for a kidney transplant
DPC has advocated against the growing economic hurdles imposed by transplant centers on dialysis patients currently on the waiting list. We understand that transplant centers do not want to see patients lose their transplanted organs early. Unfortunately, many of these policies have only exacerbated the current health disparities for kidney disease patients, further reducing access to organs for the most vulnerable members in our society. We hope this new law helps to reverse that trend by reassuring transplant centers that every ESRD patient will have the financial resources to maintain a transplanted kidney—one’s bank account should not determine his/her access to a kidney transplant.
- Extending the life of current transplanted organs We are also hopeful that this new law means that transplant recipients will no longer have to worry about how they cover the cost of their immunosuppressive medications. That should dramatically reduce the number of patients who go back on dialysis early, which will also increase access to organs for existing dialysis patients. There is nothing more devastating for a kidney patient than to lose their transplanted organ, and this new law will help to avoid any such preventable loss.
While this has been a difficult year for all of us, DPC has worked hard to make a difference (as you saw in our President’s message two weeks ago). We are reassured by this good news and want to express our sincere appreciation to you for all of your advocacy efforts and support, as none of our accomplishments would have been possible without you. Thank you again for all that you do to help elevate the voice of dialysis patients with policy makers.
Wishing you a happy and healthy 2021, with many more advocacy successes for kidney disease patients.
CEO, Dialysis Patient Citizens