Trump Administration Launches Kidney Health Initiative

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The president is delivering the speech at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in D.C. First Lady Melania Trump was hospitalized at Walter Reed Medical Center for several days in May 2018 for what the White House described as a benign kidney condition.

President Trump's executive order aims to reform the nation's organ transplant and kidney dialysis systems and includes proposals to improve the performance of organ procurement organizations, incentivize living kidney and liver donation, ensure patients with kidney disease receive the best dialysis care available at an affordable cost, and increase the number of available organs for transplantation.

More than 37 million people suffer from chronic kidney disease and more than 726,000 have end-stage renal disease.

But the changes won't happen overnight as some of the initiatives will require new government regulations. "It's very draining", said Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services. "We trust that the changes in care announced today will provide solutions for individuals living with kidney disease by improving care for people with chronic kidney disease, before they need dialysis; increase access to transplantation; and increase access to home therapies", stated Johnson. Compared to the national average, REACH patients: · 22.9% start dialysis at home; 10% is the national average · 51.3% start using a permanent access; 20% is the national average · 55.2% avoid hospitalization before the start of dialysis; 33% is the national average · 6.6% get a pre-emptive transplant; 2.8% is the national average (data from 3,017 patients in 8 locations) "The current administration has demonstrated an interest in changing the status quo of kidney care". "We look forward to continuing to work with nephrologists to help create even better care models for our unique population of patients".

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"In Guatemala, 56% of people (with kidney disease) get home dialysis; in Hong Kong, 85%", said Azar. Her kidney failure struck while she was being treated for another disease, and she woke up in the hospital attached to a dialysis machine.

Carmen Peralta, MD, executive director of the Kidney Health Research Collaborative, and CMO at kidney care provider Cricket Health, said it was "exciting to see CMS encourage innovation in a kidney care system that has simply failed patients for too long, while costs have skyrocketed".

Last year, HHS launched a two-phase competition called KidneyX to spur innovation in dialysis. Patients typically must spend hours three or four times a week hooked to machines that filter waste out of their blood. The Trump Administration is clearly aligned with CareDx in its mission to improve the long-term outcomes of kidney transplant patients. By 2025, the goal is to have 80% of people with newly diagnosed kidney failure getting one of those options, officials said. The regulation should expand the definition of allowable costs that can be reimbursed under the Reimbursement of Travel and Subsistence Expenses Incurred Toward Living Organ Donation program, raise the limit on the income of donors eligible for reimbursement under the program, allow reimbursement for lost-wage expenses, and provide for reimbursement of child-care and elder-care expenses. The transplant recipient's insurance pays the donor's medical bills.

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