Kidney Care Leaders Gather in Washington and Urge Legislators to Prioritize Protecting Patient Access and Choice

Washington, DC, June 12, 2024 --( Kidney Care Partners – the nation’s leading kidney care multi-stakeholder coalition representing patient advocates, physician organizations, health professional groups, dialysis providers, researchers, and manufacturers – convened today on Capitol Hill to advocate for policies that would expand access to innovative treatments, restore long-standing patient coverage choice protections, and preserve care access for patients across the kidney disease continuum.

“We are proud to advocate for policies that will improve patient access, prevention efforts, innovation, and the quality of care for the more than 37 million Americans living with kidney disease,” said Mahesh Krishnan, MD, MPH, MBA, Chair of Kidney Care Partners. "We thank our nation’s lawmakers for meeting with us to discuss bipartisan policies that would improve continued kidney care innovation and expand patient choice for those living with kidney disease."

KCP advocates shared support for legislation to protect patient coverage choices for those with kidney failure and in need of dialysis. The Restore Protections for Dialysis Patients Act (H.R. 6860) seeks to combat the harmful effects of the U.S. Supreme Court case Marietta v. DaVita by ensuring patients can continue to access life-saving dialysis care through their private insurance during the statutory 30-month coordination period with Medicare.

KCP members also support efforts to delay the inclusion of oral-only phosphate management medications in the ESRD payment bundle. Currently, these medications can be accessed at a patient’s local pharmacy and usually need to be taken multiple times a day with meals. However, a policy change from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) would instead require dialysis providers to distribute these medications themselves. KCP is very concerned that providers will not be able to establish the proper infrastructure needed to support this policy in time to sufficiently maintain patient access to care. Congress is considering measures to delay the implementation of this policy to allow for a more seamless transition.

Finally, KCP advocates urged Congress to support the Chronic Kidney Disease Improvement in Research and Treatment Act (H.R. 5027 and S. 4469). The bill would expand Medicare access to kidney disease awareness, prevention, screening, and education resources. It also incentivizes innovation by creating sustainable payments for kidney care in both Medicare Advantage and Medicare Fee-For-Service plans. Finally, provisions in the legislation would ensure accurate Medicare payment to address the growing workforce crisis and boost access to life-sustaining treatments in underserved areas.

“More than 130,000 Americans are diagnosed with ESRD each year, so it is critical Congress works to expand prevention efforts, extend Medicare protections, and ensure access to cutting-edge treatment options,” concluded Krishnan.

Additional information about KCP’s fly-in and legislative priorities is available here.
Kidney Care Partners
Sarah Feagan