ROCKVILLE, Md. (July 10, 2019) — The American Kidney Fund (AKF) commends the President and the Department of Health and Human Services for meaningfully addressing the epidemic of kidney disease — the fastest-growing noncommunicable disease in America. The strategies outlined today have potential to keep the 37 million Americans with chronic kidney disease off dialysis longer, make significantly more transplants available, and prevent more people from ever developing kidney disease in the first place.
"Every month, 10,000 Americans are diagnosed with kidney failure," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF president and CEO. "AKF has long advocated that our nation should treat kidney disease as a public health crisis, and today we are gratified that the Administration is releasing a policy platform that will make a real difference in the lives of Americans affected by this disease. AKF is encouraged to continue our fight against this deadly disease with our spectrum of programs supporting patients from prevention through transplant."
Since 2000, there has been an 86% increase in the number of Americans with kidney failure. This can be attributed to kidney disease having no symptoms until the late stages. 96% of people with early kidney disease are unaware they have it. Early detection and treatment can slow or stop its progression.
By finding people with kidney disease early, we not only preserve their health, we buy them much needed time to make the treatment decisions that are best for them. AKF has screened more than 150,000 people for kidney disease, and we welcome the Administration's partnership in identifying chronic kidney disease early in primary care settings.
It is also extremely encouraging that the Administration is tackling the kidney shortage. Nearly 97,000 people are on the kidney transplant waiting list today, but in 2018 fewer than 22,000 kidney transplants were performed because there were not enough organs for all. People who choose to become living donors need support. In addition to new regulations that allow reimbursement of lost wages and other expenses for living donors, Congress must pass the Living Donor Protection Act to protect living donors from insurance discrimination and ensure their jobs are protected. In 2019 AKF has worked to introduce the Living Donor Protection Act in 14 states, 6 of which have signed it into law.
About the American Kidney Fund
The American Kidney Fund (AKF) fights kidney disease on all fronts as the nation’s leading kidney nonprofit. AKF works on behalf of the 37 million Americans living with kidney disease, and the millions more at risk, with an unmatched scope of programs that support people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease—from prevention through transplant. With programs that address early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy, no kidney organization impacts more lives than AKF. One of the nation’s top-rated nonprofits, AKF invests 97 cents of every donated dollar in programs, earning the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator for 20 years in a row as well as the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Candid, formerly GuideStar.