Representatives introduce bill that would improve life for patients with kidney disease

7.22.16

A bill before Congress right now has the potential to dramatically improve the lives of patients with chronic kidney disease.

The Dialysis PATIENT Demonstration Act, or H.R. 5506, would assign a nephrologist to each Medicare patient with end-stage renal disease. This nephrologist would work in the patient’s dialysis clinic and help to coordinate their dialysis treatment with other health services they might need.

The bipartisan bill is sponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) and Rep. Todd Young (R-Indiana), who introduced it to the House floor on June 16. The goal of the bill is to provide a more holistic approach to care for the 650,000 Americans currently undergoing dialysis while on Medicare.

Dialysis is an intensive treatment, often requiring three to four four-hour sessions each week. Unfortunately, little of the care that patients receive outside of dialysis takes this time commitment into consideration. Those with kidney disease are often required to spend what little free time they have at other doctors’ appointments, being prescribed treatments that might conflict with some of the requirements of their dialysis regimen.

The Dialysis PATIENT Act aims to solve this problem. With a nephrologist in each clinic with the responsibility to coordinate care, patients will be able to have many more of their medical needs tended to during their dialysis treatments. This will save them both time and energy that they can then devote to living their normal lives.

The Chronic Disease Coalition applauds Reps. Blumenauer and Young for taking action to better the lives of those with chronic diseases. With so many policies from insurance companies, state regulators and even school boards and employers making life more difficult for patients, it is encouraging to see some elected officials looking out for their interests.

Rep. Blumenauer has also introduced the Medical Transitional Care Act, which would help patients transition from hospital to home care, another exceptional bill that will help coordinate the care of chronic disease patients.