Twelve AKF Advocates from around the country will join us next week for our 6th Annual Kidney Action Day on Capitol Hill and we are looking forward to a full schedule of meetings with their congressional representatives. We’ll ask members of Congress to support comprehensive kidney legislation that focuses on kidney disease research, access to treatment and fiscal challenges facing the Medicare program that funds treatment for more than 80 percent of U.S. dialysis patients. We’ll also hold our Kidney Action Day on the Hill event to raise awareness of kidney disease and provide free kidney health screenings.
Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter on March 4—we’ll be posting live updates and photos of our Advocates and Kidney Action Day on the Hill. We are sincerely grateful to the many Advocates who applied to join us in Washington, D.C., this year, and we appreciate all that you do in your communities to raise awareness of kidney disease.
CMS Releases 5-Star Rating System for Dialysis Centers
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requires every dialysis facility to measure quality of care, and the results are located at the Dialysis Facility Compare website. This site helps people make informed choices about their own treatment. Last month, CMS added a new feature to this website, a "Five-Star Quality Rating System" which will rate dialysis facilities with scores distributed along a bell curve. This system requires that at least 30 percent of facilities fall into the lowest one-star and two-star categories even if there are only minor differences separating them from higher-ranked facilities.
AKF and the entire renal community expressed to CMS concerns with this system through letters, meetings and comments. We believe the bell curve scoring method is inaccurate and misleading, and we are concerned that the system will confuse patients. To help patients better understand the five-star rating program, the kidney community has developed a website.
Advocate Spotlight: Audrey Adamson
Audrey was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease when she was just 27 years old. She developed CKD as a result of pancreatitis. Prior to that, she was a very active and healthy young adult. In the five years since her CKD diagnosis, Audrey has used her blogs and social media outlets to advocate for kidney disease research. Last year, she participated in Kidney Action Day on the Hill, encouraging her legislators to support funding for research and education.
Kidney Action Day is AKF's free, fun-filled, family-friendly event with a serious purpose: helping people understand their risk for kidney disease and how to prevent it. We hold Kidney Action Days in cities where rates of kidney disease are above the national average. We encourage members of our Advocacy Network to come out and support an upcoming Kidney Action Day in your area and to help us spread the word. We’ll kick off our national Kidney Action Day schedule in March, which is National Kidney Month. Check the schedule below for a Kidney Action Day near you!
• Memphis - Saturday, March 14 • Philadelphia - Friday, April 24 • Boston – Tuesday, May 12 Augusta, Ga. - Saturday, July 25 • Chicago - Wednesday, Aug. 26 • Atlanta - Tuesday, Sept. 15 • Houston – Sunday, October 4 • Dallas—Date to be announced
For more information on other AKF screening events throughout the country, visit our website.
We Want to Hear from You!
The American Kidney Fund is gearing up for a busy legislative year. As we work to advocate on issues that affect the lives of individuals with kidney disease, we encourage you to get engaged in the process.
Take a moment to email us and let us know how we can best advocate for you. Not only do we want to advocate for you, we also want to equip you with the tools and resources to advocate for yourself. Would you like more information about policy issues that are directly affecting you or a loved one? What have you been doing to increase awareness of kidney disease in your community? Let us know!
Please contact Nikia Okoye at 800.638.8299 extension 6649 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments.