Two U.S. senators recently introduced legislation to improve access to care for patients with chronic kidney disease.
Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) introduced S.1676, the Chronic Kidney Disease Improvement in Research and Treatment Act of 2019, on May 24.
“If passed, this legislation would raise awareness, incentivize innovation, improve care and empower the more than 30 million Americans living with chronic kidney disease,” advocacy group Kidney Care Partners (KCP) said in a press release supporting the bill.
If enacted, KCP said the legislation would:
- increases access to the Medicare kidney disease education benefit;
- require the comptroller general of the United States to conduct a study on the current use of palliative care services in treating patients with kidney disease;
- expand kidney care access in underserved areas by adding nephrology health professionals to National Health Service Corps Scholarship and Loan Programs;
- improve care coordination for patients on dialysis by requiring hospitals to provide information to their dialysis providers;
- maintain an economically stable dialysis infrastructure while incentivizing innovation for new drugs, biologicals, devices and other technologies;
- improve patient decision-making and transparency by consolidating and modernizing quality programs; and
- guarantee access to Medigap policies to all ESRD beneficiaries, regardless of age.
“The Chronic Kidney Disease Improvement in Research and Treatment Act of 2019 provides a clear roadmap for the future of kidney care,” Allen R. Nissenson, MD, KCP chair, said in the release. “By focusing on patients and supporting expanded access to and improved quality of care, this legislation will help millions of individuals living with chronic kidney disease and ESRD achieve the quality of life they want and deserve.”