Thanks to the tireless advocacy of our wonderful network of more than 20,700 Ambassadors and our Government Affairs team, the American Kidney Fund (AKF) successfully advocated for policies that help improve the lives of those with kidney disease and living organ donors throughout 2022.
Below are just some of the truly outstanding accomplishments we achieved last year:
We had more than 350 meetings with congressional and state offices and our AKF Ambassadors sent over 21,000 action alerts to state and federal legislators. The AKF Government Affairs team sent 13 comment letters to federal agencies on a number of issues important to the kidney community, such as immunosuppressive drug coverage, kidney disease screening and health equity.
AKF Ambassadors also conducted 65 virtual in-district meetings with their local lawmakers' offices, building important connections with Congressional staff and informing them of the needs of the kidney community.
In May, we held our third annual virtual Kidney Action Summit. During the Summit, 37 AKF Ambassadors from 13 states met with their federal lawmakers' offices on Capitol Hill for a total of 52 meetings with Congressional staff, including four meetings with members of Congress in attendance.
All these efforts led to increased support and cosponsors for AKF's priority federal bills:
The CARE for All Kidneys Act (H.R. 3893) would help create a national action plan and fund research and interventions for causes of kidney disease in underserved communities, including communities of color and rural communities. In 2022, sevencosponsors signed on to the bill.
The Living Donor Protection Act (S.377 / H.R. 1255) would ensure living organ donors are protected from insurance discrimination and can take time off from work after organ donation surgery. In 2022, the bill gained 11 cosponsors in the Senate (S.377) and 74 cosponsors in the House (H.R. 1255).
The Restore Protections for Dialysis Patients Act (S.4750 / H.R. 8495) would specify that private health insurers may not limit, restrict or condition benefits for renal dialysis services for individuals with end-stage renal disease as compared to other types of benefits for other medical conditions under Medicare secondary payer rules. In 2022, the bill gained twocosponsors in the Senate (S.4750) and 41 cosponsors in the House (H.R. 8594).
Advocacy accomplishments in state legislatures
The 2022 state legislative sessions also produced many positive changes for living organ donors and people living with kidney disease. AKF was involved in the passage of 19 bills in 14 states, including seven bills that provide protections for living organ donors. These bills provide job-protected leave to living organ donors or provide employers with a tax credit if they provide employees with paid leave to recover from living organ donation surgery. These policies help to reduce barriers to living organ donation and make more organs available for transplantation.
AKF staff and AKF Ambassador efforts at the state level included 188 meetings with state lawmakers and their staff in 48 states, and 36 state legislative hearings in which AKF staff or AKF Ambassadors provided testimony.
Get Involved in 2023
Interested in helping fight for positive change for the kidney community? There are a number of ways you can get involved. Our Mobile Advocacy Network is a quick and easy way to stay up to date about advocacy opportunities in your state and at the federal level so you can take action on important issues. Through this tool, you can send emails and engage with your lawmakers on Twitter. Sign-up for the Mobile Advocacy Network here, or by texting "KIDNEY" to 52886.
If you have friends and family who are interested in becoming AKF Ambassadors, please encourage them to sign up. If you are already an AKF Ambassador and are interested in participating in this year's Kidney Action Summit, be sure to apply before the February 27 deadline.
Thank you to all the AKF Ambassadors who worked with us in 2022 to advocate for the kidney community and helped to achieve these accomplishments. We look forward to continuing our advocacy efforts with you this year!