Making kidney transplants possible: 1,400 American Kidney Fund grant recipients received kidney transplants in 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ROCKVILLE, Md. (Feb. 10, 2020)—In a year that saw the highest number of kidney transplants ever—over 24,000—more than 1 in 20 of those transplants were made possible with financial assistance from the American Kidney Fund (AKF). AKF today announced that 1,400 of its grant recipients living with end-stage renal disease (ESRD or kidney failure) received lifesaving kidney transplants and post-transplant care in 2019.
Patients who received the transplants live in 48 states and Puerto Rico, and range in age from 13 to 80. More than 60% of AKF’s grant recipients who received transplants are members of racial and ethnic minority groups, who generally receive fewer kidney transplants than white Americans even though they are disproportionately affected by the disease.
“Patients face so many obstacles on the road to getting a transplant, and the American Kidney Fund helps them overcome one very significant hurdle—the financial barriers to maintaining comprehensive health coverage necessary for transplant,” said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF president and CEO. “Our charitable premium assistance program is a lifeline that helps low-income patients access the full range of health care services needed to treat this complex condition and stay as healthy as possible—allowing them to qualify for the transplant waiting list, go through the transplant workup, have the surgery itself, and receive post-transplant care. Our assistance continues for the full insurance plan year post-transplant, providing support to patients as they recover and adjust to post-transplant living.”
Among the goals of the Trump administration’s Advancing American Kidney Health initiative, announced last summer, is to double the number of kidneys available for transplant by 2030—a goal which AKF supports wholeheartedly. More than half a million Americans are on dialysis, and more than 96,000 are on the kidney transplant waiting list.
Most dialysis patients are not able to work because of their health and the exhausting toll the treatment takes on their bodies, frequently decimating their family’s finances. AKF’s 100% needs-based financial assistance helps to make it possible for low-income kidney failure patients to qualify for the kidney transplant list and receive transplants and post-transplant care when matching kidneys become available. Charitable premium assistance is just one of AKF’s broad range of programs that support people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease—from prevention through transplant.
AKF is also leading the charge to make it easier to become a living kidney donor. In 2019, nine states enacted legislation spearheaded by AKF that will protect living kidney donors from insurance discrimination and make it possible for them to have job-protected leave. In 2020, AKF is working in 15 states to champion this legislation, in addition to actively supporting the federal Living Donor Protection Act of 2019.
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. AKF is one of the nation’s top-rated nonprofits, investing 97 cents of every donated dollar in programs, and holds the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator and the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.
About the AKF charitable assistance program: For more than 20 years, AKF’s 100% needs-based Health Insurance Premium Program (HIPP) has provided grants to low-income dialysis and kidney transplant patients, helping them pay for their health coverage when they cannot afford to do so on their own. AKF’s program is governed by Advisory Opinion 97-1, which was issued by the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 1997. AO 97-1 requires strict firewalls and safeguards to protect and ensure patient choice of provider and insurance coverage, providing a safe harbor from federal beneficiary inducement laws. This protocol has set the standard for dozens of similar national charity care programs for more than two decades.