Top Five Kidney Policy Issues in 2015

Mark Lukaszewski
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These are the major policy issues affecting the kidney community in 2015.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Funding

ASN requests that Congress allocate $32 billion for the NIH and $2.066 billion for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) in fiscal year (FY) 2016. The society is also requesting additional NIDDK funding—$150 million per year over the next 10 years—beyond current funding levels for kidney research to spur innovation.

President’s Proposed Budget

On February 2, 2015, President Barack Obama released his proposed federal budget for FY 2016 (see budget story). The president specifically calls on Congress to raise the 2016 spending caps for defense and non-defense programs (which includes medical research), which he proposes paying for by cutting spending to inefficient government programs and through tax refrom.

Treatment Options for Patients with Dialysis-Requiring Acute Kidney Injury (AKI)

President Obama’s proposed FY 2016 budget expands the Part B scope of benefits to allow patients with dialysis-requiring AKI to receive treatment at a Medicare-certified End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) facility. Currently, these patients face limited options for treatment, each of which comes with major challenges. If implemented correctly the plan could potentially afford significant improvements to overall care and quality of life.

Telehealth and the 21st Century Cures Legislation

ASN is collaborating with the U.S. Committee on Energy and Commerce on its 21st Century Cures legislation. The Committee is committed to accelerating discovery, development, and delivery of promising new treatments to patients and has solicited ASN’s insights on telehealth and other critical nephrology issues. Read the society’s comments to Congress at

ESRD Seamless Care Organization (ESCO)

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) developed the first-ever disease-specific accountable care organization for dialysis providers, with the goal of reducing costs to the Medicare part D system. Designed to reduce duplicative services and expenditures, ESCOs would consolidate all aspects of care for patients with ESRD. The ESCO program has been riddled with problems since its conception. Over the past 2 years the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovations (CMMI) has extended the request for applications three times, and now has pushed back its launch to July 2015. ASN is hopeful that CMS and CMMI have made much-needed changes to the program to ensure it saves costs and promotes improved patient care.

Follow @ASNAdvocacy on Twitter and visit to learn how you can take action on important issues affecting the kidney community.