As the year draws to a close, I look forward to the best part of the holidays: spending time with family and friends. A recent email from the daughter of a patient we helped is a powerful reminder that for people living with kidney failure and their families, time together is especially precious:
“My father passed away on September 5th after his three-year battle with end-stage renal failure. Without the help of AKF, there's no way he would have survived as long as he did. You all provided my family with an opportunity to spend invaluable time with him and for that we are forever grateful! Thank you to the entire organization for being such amazing advocates for life.”
Continued financial support from friends like you is what allows us to help patients in need access critical care by paying for health insurance premiums and treatment-related expenses not covered by insurance. This is at the heart of our mission.
I am ever mindful of the incredible challenges these patients and their families face each day, and I know that this holiday season, I will especially cherish the time I spend with my family. Best wishes to you and your loved ones for a wonderful and peaceful holiday season!
Does kidney disease run in families? Is soda bad for your kidneys? Can you travel while on dialysis? How can you become an organ donor? Learn the answers to these and many other common questions about kidneys and kidney disease, and find links to other resources, including the American Kidney Fund’s HelpLine.
At the end of November, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its final rule that will result in a 12 percent cut in Medicare payments for dialysis treatment. The cut, which equates to $30 per treatment, will be phased in over the next three to four years. We are grateful to our Advocacy Network members who sent more than 1,000 messages to Congress in opposition to the cut. We believe that vocal opposition from the entire kidney care community resulted in CMS phasing in the cut rather than implementing the full cut in 2014, as CMS had originally proposed. Although we cannot predict how services will be impacted over the long term, we will continue to work to protect patients’ access to quality dialysis care.
More than 1,000 Houstonians turned out for AKF’s seventh and final Kidney Action Day of 2013, ending the year on a high note! Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee was on hand, joining 43 teams and more than 500 walkers in the Kidney Action Day Walk. More than 260 attendees received free kidney health screenings and everyone enjoyed a day of fun and healthy activities. Special thanks to our National Sponsor American Renal Associates and our Lead Regional Sponsor U.S. Renal Care, Inc.; Supporting Sponsors Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas and DaVita Lone Star Division; and Community Sponsor Genentech. Together, they made Kidney Action Day Houston possible.
Last month, AKF Paired Up with the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) to host Kidney Action Day in Atlanta, providing free kidney health screenings to 248 at-risk individuals. The event took place at the start of ASN’s annual Kidney Week, which was also hosted in Atlanta this year. Kidney Week is the world’s premier nephrology meeting that brings together more than 13,000 kidney professionals from across the globe.
Through December 31, a group of generous donors will match every gift to AKF dollar-for-dollar up to a total of $50,000! As you make plans for your year-end charitable giving, please remember the American Kidney Fund. Your tax-deductible gift will help us to continue assisting tens of thousands of dialysis patients in need pay for treatment-related expenses not covered by insurance. For them, AKF is a lifeline of financial support. We also screen thousands of Americans each year for kidney disease and reach millions more with vital health information that can help them prevent kidney disease. Your support is crucial!