On March 7-8, 2017, AKF held its 7th Annual Patient Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, where advocates representing 13 states across the country gathered in our nation’s capital to work on behalf of all the dialysis patients we support. The personal stories our advocates shared with their Members of Congress made these meetings impactful. Advocates discussed their journey with kidney disease and the issue of insurance companies rejecting direct health insurance premium payments made by non-profit charitable organizations on behalf of people with chronic illnesses like ESRD. The legislative fly-in was an all-encompassing event that provided these advocates with a full suite of training and education to prepare them to speak on the fast-changing political topics currently dominating the kidney community.
This year’s Advocacy Day was the largest in the event’s history. We had more advocates and even more meetings, representing states that haven’t appeared before. A total of 41 meetings were coordinated by AKF on behalf of 18 advocates with their Members of Congress. Our advocates represented constituents from 13 states: California, Connecticut, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. AKF will continue to follow up with our advocates, especially with our new State Leaders Program. Moving forward, we hope to work with more advocates in more states and within more districts.