The ASN Council, Public Policy Board, and Board of Advisors met with legislators on Capitol Hill as part of the biannual Board of Advisors meeting on April 26, 2012. The second annual ASN Hill Day provided ASN leaders an opportunity to talk directly with lawmakers and House and Senate staff about issues of importance to ASN and the kidney care community. ASN leaders met with more than 50 congressional offices, including more than a half-dozen meetings with senators and representatives themselves, and were divided into four teams to discuss one of the following issues:
National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) funding and investigation of kidney health disparities, including a bill (S.2163) recently introduced by Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) that promotes research regarding disparities and access to care.
Support for legislation to extend lifetime coverage of immunosuppressive drugs for kidney transplant recipients (S.1454/H.R.2969).
ASN’s efforts to increase interaction between the nephrology community and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
A complex set of issues and upcoming changes related to the Medicare end stage renal disease (ESRD) program and the practice of nephrology.
ASN leaders met not only with senators and representatives from their home states and districts, but also with key members of congressional committees with jurisdiction over the issues ASN discussed, either from an “authorizing” perspective (meaning that the committee can tell a certain program or agency what it is allowed to, or must, do) or from an “appropriations” perspective (meaning that the committee is in charge of determining how much funding an agency or a program receives).
This Policy Update gives an in-depth description of the issues for ASN Hill Day 2012, and includes an article from members of the ASN Transplant Advisory Group that illustrates why advocating for legislation to extend lifetime coverage of immunosuppressive drugs was—and continues to be—a top ASN policy priority.
As noted above, ASN’s collaboration with the FDA is one of the society’s top policy priorities in 2012. Several ASN leaders discussed this priority with members of Congress who oversee the FDA. Although ASN is still in the early stages of outlining this collaborative initiative with the FDA to protect kidney health, the society received positive feedback about its goals from members in both the House and Senate. Stay tuned to Kidney News for more details about this vitally important initiative in the coming months.
Gill JS, Tonelli M. Penny wise, pound foolish? Coverage limits on immunosuppression after kidney transplantation. N Engl J Med 2012; 366:586–589.
Evans RW, Applegate WH, Briscoe DM, et al.. Cost-related immunosuppressive medication nonadherence among kidney transplant recipients. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol 2010; 5:2323–2328.