A Call to Help Raise Support for the PATIENTS Act
As a professional nurse with 16 years of experience caring for patients with kidney failure, I understand the life-altering impact of the diagnosis. Those coping with kidney failure, or end-stage renal disease (ESRD), are one of the most chronically ill patient populations in the U.S. and must receive dialysis therapy three to four hours per day, three times per week. Without dialysis, the kidneys are unable to remove deadly toxins and excess waste from the body, leading to a rapid health decline.
More than 700,000 people in the U.S. suffer from ESRD. These patients often must manage other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and depression. In addition, they have to juggle multiple appointments and numerous medications, and typically experience frequent hospital visits all while struggling to navigate our complex health care system. The challenges and burdens are both exhausting and overwhelming for patients who suffer from ESRD.
To help patients facing these obstacles, Congress recently introduced the Dialysis PATIENTS Demonstration Act H.R. 4143/S. 2065 (PATIENTS Act). The PATIENTS Act would offer integrated care options to Medicare patients with ESRD and provide support for their wide-ranging health needs.
Integrated care is based on a simple principle. If many clinicians treating the same patient work together, they can provide more effective, holistic and efficient care to individuals. This means fewer visits to the doctor’s office, fewer repeated tests, and lower overall costs – both for the patient and for the health care system. Most importantly integrated care leads to better health.
The PATIENTS Act would allow more dialysis patients access to a dedicated care team to help manage their individual health needs. Dialysis providers, nephrologists and health care providers could partner in more ways to improve care for patients with kidney failure. As one of the most vulnerable populations in the U.S., dialysis patients would have the opportunity to benefit in many ways from increased access to high-quality, integrated care.
The PATIENTS Act is good for both dialysis patients and the health care system because it could help reduce hospitalizations, and allow patients the chance to live better, healthier lives.
I urge you to contact your local congressional member and ask them to advocate for improved health outcomes for patients living with ESRD by supporting H.R. 4143/S. 2065, the Dialysis PATIENTS Demonstration Act.