On Friday, September 28, President Donald Trump signed into law the annual Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) funding bill for Fiscal Year 2019, which contains multiple priorities of the American Society of Nephrology (ASN).
As reported in the August edition of Kidney News Online, these priorities include a $2 billion funding increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and language supporting KidneyX, the study of immunosuppressive drug coverage for kidney transplant patients, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) coverage for living organ donors, and recognition of the discrepancy between investment in kidney research and financial burden of kidney diseases.
The Living Donor Protection Act of 2019, a longstanding priority of the ASN Policy and Advocacy Committee and the larger kidney and transplant community, has been reintroduced in the House of Representatives and Senate by Representatives Jaime Herrera-Beulter (R-WA) and Jerry Nadler (D-NY), and Senators Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) and Tom Cotton (R-AR).
On February 15th, 2019, American Society of Nephrology (ASN) President Dr. Mark Rosenberg sent a letter to the lead sponsors of the legislation to commend their efforts to provide hope to the more than 700,000 Americans with kidney failure, including the nearly 100,000 people on the waitlist to receive a kidney.
Ongoing efforts at the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) to develop a Comprehensive Kidney Care (CKC) Model received a boost last week after Senator Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA), met with Crystal A. Gadegbeku[i], MD, FASN, and Daniel E. Weiner[ii], MD, FASN, co-chairs of a joint working group leading development of the model.
People who receive dialysis at home, and the nephrologists who care for them, need additional options in order to receive care, and reduce risk of infection, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to the work of the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) and other members of the kidney community, important actions to protect these vulnerable patients have been enacted into law.
On Friday, March 27, 2020, the CARES Act* was signed into law. Section 3705 of this act eliminates a statutory requirement for a nephrologist to conduct a face-to-face evaluation of a home dialysis patient, allowing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue emergency waivers so the entire visit can be conducted via telehealth. The emergency waiver authority will remain in place during the COVID-19 emergency period.
Zachary Kribs is the ASN Government Affairs Specialist
The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on Wednesday, January 8th, on the Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2019, advancing a long-standing legislative priority of the American Society of Nephrology.
The legislation, introduced in late December by Representative Ron Kind and Representative Michael Burgess, along with three other original sponsors, would allow Medicare to pay for immunosuppressive drugs for kidney transplant patients for the lifetime of the organ transplant. Medicare currently reimburses immunosuppressive drug coverage for only 36 months, leaving many individuals who cannot afford other coverage at risk of losing the transplanted kidney. The legislation is a top priority of ASN and has been the focus of several advocacy initiatives, including Kidney Community Advocacy Day convened by ASN in November 2019.