Two recent editorials in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology discuss the benefits and drawbacks of telehealth in the context of treating chronic kidney disease now and in the future.
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.
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.1 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
In the wake of the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic, the Medicare program is expanding telehealth coverage enabling clinicians to provide a wider range of health care services to their patients without those patients having to travel to a health care facility thereby reducing exposure. The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) strongly supports this bold move. Retroactive to March 6, 2020, Medicare, under waiver authority, will temporarily allow and pay clinicians to provide telehealth services for beneficiaries residing across the entire country.