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More than 37,000,000 Americans are affected by kidney diseases, and inequities and disparities have long plagued the care for many of those affected. In a series of key recommendations to the Biden Administration, ASN pledged its support to address the twin public health crises of COVID-19 and systemic racism. 

The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) strongly condemns the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans throughout the United States. During the past year, more than 3,500 accounts of such incidents were reported, and ASN is committed to doing everything possible to prevent these injustices.

The long push for payment models to cross the silos of kidney care – chronic kidney disease (CKD), kidney failure and dialysis, and kidney transplant – continues with newly announced modifications to the implementation timeline of the Kidney Care Choices (KCC) Model, often referred to as the voluntary model.  The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), which creates models and created the ESCOs, has extended the implementation period from March 31, 2021, until December 31, 2021. The effective performance year that was scheduled to begin April 1, 2021 will now begin January 1, 2022.

The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) is spearheading efforts to secure direct federal allocation of COVID-19 vaccines to dialysis patients and frontline dialysis workers. This allocation would improve access for a vulnerable patient population, more than half of whom are Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islanders (NHPIs).

Every member of the ASN Alliance for Kidney Health is excited to help elevate care, drive breakthroughs and innovation, educate and inform, and propel policies that create momentous changes in kidney health. To accomplish these goals and others, ASN and the rest of the alliance will:

1. Launch the ASN Health Justice Committee to address health disparities and influence social determinants of health in populations at risk for and overburdened with kidney diseases.

Approximately 50 percent of dialysis patients in the United States are Black, Latinx, Native American, or Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islanders (NHPIs).  These individuals are underrepresented in COVID-19 vaccination rates. In Virginia, for instance, Black people represent 19% of residents while accounting for 21% of the state’s COVID-19 cases and 24% of its deaths; however, Black Virginians have received only 12% of vaccines administered in the state to date.2

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has asked ASN to share with its members that the ESRD Quality Reporting System (EQRS) has been suspended due to data submitting issues. 

Users are asked not to submit additional data at this time CMS writes “We are committed to ensuring the accuracy and reliability of our data, and are working to rapidly resolve these issues.”

Organ Procurement Organizations Conditions for Coverage: Revisions to the Outcome Measure Requirements for Organ Procurement Organizations will take effect March 30, 2021

Last November, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) acted, as advocated for by ASN, to increase organ donation rates and transplantation rates, applying new standards of accountability and transparency to the nation’s Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs).  HHS did this by finalizing  a rule that imposes new transparency requirements for the nation’s 58 OPOs to receive payment from Medicare and Medicaid. Approximately 113,000 Americans are on transplant waiting lists.

ASN is now accepting nominations for its Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Brian Hess, a lifelong kidney advocate, passed away on December 3, 2020.

Despite being diagnosed with kidney disease at a young age and undergoing dialysis for the majority of his life, Brian refused to let kidney disease slow him down. Brian graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma while maintaining his dialysis regime.