Kidney Watch 2015

Kidney Watch 2015

Although last fall’s anxiety about the spread of the Ebola epidemic has receded, the outbreak continues in Africa. The possibility that U.S. hospitals will be treating more Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases cannot be discounted, and advance preparation is the key to coping with any infectious disease.

Suppose you’re seeing a new patient with kidney disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. What if you could order a single lab test that would assess all known gene variants that might affect his response to common drugs—not just medications he’s currently taking, but also common drugs that may be prescribed in the future? That’s the approach being studied by The University of Chicago’s Center for Personalized Therapeutics and other centers nationwide.

Nearly two years after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) announced the first-ever disease-specific innovation model, the first performance period of the ESRD Seamless Care Organizations (ESCO) program is slated to begin in January 2015. Large Dialysis Organization (LDO)-based ESCOs will be the first to participate in the program, followed by ESCOs operated by Small Dialysis Organizations (SDOs) in July 2015.

The dust is still settling from the election of November 4, 2014, when Republicans gained control of both chambers of Congress. Whether a Republican Congress and a Democratic administration can work together to address the many domestic and foreign challenges confronting the country today is one of the biggest questions as we head into 2015.

In 2014, Congress made major gains toward finally repealing the broken sustainable growth rate (SGR). But, as of press time, Congress had failed to get legislation to repeal SGR over the line, meaning that physicians will again face pay cuts—and the hope of repeal—in 2015.

Insights from recent research into the nephrology workforce will inform discussions about nephrology’s future in 2015. Researchers from George Washington University (GWU) will continue their collaboration with the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) and expand upon their initial nephrology workforce research. Discussion of workforce trends and developments in the specialty is timely and has become more urgent after results of the Match for appointment year (AY) 2015–2016 were released on December 3, 2014.

Patients’ access to specialized care before kidney failure develops varies significantly across the United States and among different racial groups. And perceived racial discrimination may have negative effects on kidney function.

Pre-ESRD nephrology care is crucial for optimizing the health of patients with this condition. How the United States and global kidney community ensure such care for the millions of people with kidney disease is crucial to stemming the disease’s growing prevalence.