People with ESRD have experienced a disproportionate impact from COVID-19. Data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) showed that at the end of 2021, Medicare beneficiaries with ESRD had the highest rate of hospitalization among all Medicare beneficiaries — a rate more than five times higher than the hospitalization rate for Medicare beneficiaries generally. The situation is even more dire for communities of color, who are disproportionately impacted by ESRD and are experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 infection, hospitalization and deaths.
To ensure equity in the COVID-19 pandemic response, AKF advocates for policies that would:
- Improve the public health data infrastructure to modernize reporting on COVID-19 and other diseases and conditions, and to improve the collection and reporting of race and ethnicity data.
- Ensure equitable access to COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccines for high-risk populations, including communities of color, underserved populations, and people with ESRD who are on dialysis or have a kidney transplant.
- Prioritize COVID-19 vaccine education, outreach, and access to high-risk populations who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, particularly communities of color and underserved populations who have also experienced medical discrimination and may have higher levels of mistrust in the health care system.