At the urging of the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) members and American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) ambassadors’ calls and recent visits to Capitol Hill, a bipartisan group of 57 lawmakers wrote to the House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee asking them to include $25 million in funding for KidneyX. The letter, sent March 28, represents a major victory for KidneyX and is the latest example of a recent outpouring of public support for KidneyX from Congress and the Administration. Congressional Kidney Caucus Co-Chairs Representative Suzan DelBene (D-WA-01) and Representative Larry Bucshon (R-IN-08), along with champions of patient-centered innovation, Representative Terri Sewell (D-AL-7) and Representative Brian Babin (R-TX-36), spearheaded the letter culminating the intensive efforts from congressional leaders and the kidney community.
On March 20, 50 advocates from the AAKP and ASN met with nearly 100 members of congress and their staff as part of the Seventh Annual Kidney Health Advocacy Day and urged them to support $25 million in funding for KidneyX that would match $25 million previously committed to KidneyX from ASN. The advocates’ efforts were well-received, as evidenced by the groundswell of support for KidneyX by the 57 members of Congress on the letter.
Numerous organizations across the kidney community have supported KidneyX over the past year. Last October, 36 patient, physician, and provider groups wrote to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar commending him for establishing the program. Many of those groups – including ASN, AAKP, Northwest Kidney Centers, and Kidney Care Partners -- have been actively encouraging Congress to support a $25 million appropriation for KidneyX.
The letter comes on the heels of numerous public remarks lauding KidneyX made by senior members of the Administration at HHS. Early in March, Secretary Azar said he was “thrilled with this level of interest, and it shows what a prize competition can drive in an otherwise neglected investment space,” as demonstrated by the 165 submissions for the first prize competition, Redesign Dialysis Phase One.
Senior administration officials continue to share their enthusiasm for KidneyX. Earlier this week, KidneyX was highlighted as a model for government to drive innovation by Eric Hargan, Deputy Secretary of HHS, at the Health Datapalooza conference. KidneyX also received recognition from Adam Boehler, Deputy Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), at the National Quality Forum Annual Conference. HHS Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Ed Simcox also highlighted the public-private partnership during an HHS Start-Up Day in Indianapolis, IN, which brought together health innovators and entrepreneurs to discuss emerging topics in healthcare, technology, and innovation.
KidneyX is a patient-driven public-private partnership between ASN and HHS to accelerate innovation in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of kidney diseases. Established in April of 2018, KidneyX launched its first prize competition Redesign Dialysis which incentivizes the development of next-generation dialysis products at Kidney Week 2018. A true public-private partnership, the private sector has already committed $25 million to KidneyX and is committed to matching federal funding dollar-to-dollar to achieve a total program of $250 million in the first 5 years. KidneyX’s portfolio will expand to incentivize innovation in other products such as diagnostics, other devices, medications, and patient-centered tools to better manage kidney diseases.