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For too long patients have asked why they were not diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (CKD) before learning they had kidney failure (ESRD). CKD affects 30 million people in the U.S. and, astonishingly, 96% of those with early kidney disease don’t know they have it. People at the highest risk include those with diabetes and hypertension. Minority populations are also disproportionately affected by CKD as African Americans develop CKD at a rate of nearly 4 to 1 compared to Caucasians and Hispanics at a rate of 2 to 1.
Congress will be taking the first step to changing this by introducing innovative legislation to help primary care practitioners detect and treat CKD earlier. It seeks to demonstrate that early detection of CKD, combined with effective and coordinated care that engages patients in the decision-making process, can not only improve clinical results but also lower healthcare spending.
The voluntary practitioner-led Medicare pilot program will tie Medicare payment to improvements in the early detection of CKD and the care patients receive. This bill will promote stronger collaboration between primary care and nephrology practitioners to preserve kidney health and provide them with the resources they need to make measurable improvements in the care of people with CKD. NKF initiated this landmark legislation and believes it can help change the pattern of how CKD is identified and treated, improving the outcomes and quality of life of patients with CKD.
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