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National Kidney Foundation Statement on Newly Released HHS Report on Cost Savings and Extending Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Transplant Patients

NEW YORK, May 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- "A just released report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation proves that extending Medicare coverage of immunosuppressive drugs for transplant patients beyond the current three years post-transplant not only saves lives but saves money. The report shows extending the coverage would result in an accumulated savings of approximately $73 million over ten years."

"Kidney transplant recipients must take immunosuppressive drugs for the life of their transplant, or they increase the risk of losing their kidney. But when Medicare coverage stops after just 36-months post-transplant, patients are left struggling trying to pay for their medications."

"The National Kidney Foundation has long been a champion for extending immunosuppressive drug coverage for transplant patients and applauds the Department of Health and Human Services for initiating this report demonstrating that saving costs and savings lives are both possible." 

"At the National Kidney Foundation Kidney Patient Summit held in March, advocates from across the nation urged lawmakers to support the extension of immunosuppressive drug coverage for transplant patients. The Department of Health and Human Services did its part with this report; now we call on Congress to introduce legislation to extend this life-saving drug coverage."

About Kidney Disease
In the United States 30 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and most aren't aware of it. 1 in 3 American adults are at risk for chronic kidney disease. Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and family history.  People of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. African Americans are 3 times more likely than Whites, and Hispanics are nearly 1.5 times more likely than non-Hispanics to develop end stage renal disease (kidney failure).

Nearly 680,000 Americans have irreversible kidney failure, or end-stage renal disease (ESRD), and need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. More than 475,000 ESRD patients receive dialysis at least three times per week to replace kidney function. Nearly 100,000 Americans are on the waitlist for a kidney transplant right now. Depending on where a patient lives, the average wait time for a kidney transplant can be upwards of three to seven years. Living organ donation not only saves lives, it saves money. Each year, Medicare spends $87,000 per dialysis patient and less than half, $32,500, for a transplant patient.

About National Kidney Foundation Living Organ Donation Resources:
THE BIG ASK: THE BIG GIVE platform, which provides nationwide outreach, is designed to increase kidney transplantation through training and tools that help patients and families find a living donor. It includes direct patient and caregiver support through our toll-free help line 855-NKF-CARES, peer mentoring from a fellow kidney patient or a living donor, online communities, an advocacy campaign to remove barriers to donation, and a multi-media public awareness campaign. All resources are free and designed to teach kidney patients, or their advocates, how to make a "big ask" to their friends, loved ones, or community to consider making a "big give," a living organ donation.

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive and longstanding organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease. For more information about NKF visit www.kidney.org.

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SOURCE National Kidney Foundation