Your Advocacy Creates Change – Living Donor Protection Act

P11301012/26/16 – Because of your efforts on Capitol Hill, the Living Donor Protection Act of 2016 was introduced yesterday by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Rep. Michael Burgess, MD (R-TX) in the House, and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) in the Senate.  This legislation promotes organ donation and protects the rights of living organ donors. It is made possible in part by YOUR action on Kidney Community Advocacy Day, a joint advocacy event with the support of 16 separate kidney organizations and led by the American Society of Nephrology (ASN).For many patients with kidney failure, a transplant can be the best form of kidney replacement therapy. But today, more people than ever are waiting for this life-saving measure: a patient is added to the kidney transplant wait list every 14 minutes. In 2014, there were 101,168 people on the kidney transplant wait list, but only 5,536 living donor transplants performed that year. The Living Donor Protection Act would increase the number of kidney transplants by eliminating pointless barriers to donation.

This bill prohibits insurance companies from denying or limiting coverage and from charging higher premiums for living organ donors. It also clarifies that living organ donors can use Family Medical Leave Act time to recover from donation surgery and maintain job security. This important legislation will allow more Americans to consider living organ donation and help countless people receive the gift of life.

NephCure Kidney International strongly supports this bill and joins ASN and the National Kidney Foundation in urging members of Congress to support this bi-partisan legislation.

Want to make sure this bill becomes law? Tell your Senators and Representatives why it’s important to you, and urge them to cosponsor it. You can find supplemental documents to send to your congresspeople here.

Watch the Demystifying Research Webinar!

Watch NKI and special guest speaker Dr. Jonathan Hogan from The University of Pennsylvania, as we demystify Nephrotic Syndrome research! Research is important to all members of the NS community- so why not learn about it!

We talk about how research works, what is happening in the NS research world, and what patients and their families can do to help. Come with your research questions, and prepare to have them answered!


A Call for More Specific Standards of Care

From a new article, published by Nephrology News and Issues, comes a provocative call for more specific standards of care in nephrology. As of now, the standard of care for the majority of kidney-failure patients is to follow a similar treatment plan, regardless of the cause for their kidney failure. Yet, according to research conducted at Stanford University School of Medicine, this approach is not enough. In fact—it could even be dangerous.

Researchers used data from over 84,000 patients, who between 1996 and 2011, suffered end-stage kidney disease due to one of six major glomerular disease types. The results were shocking. Mortality ranged all the way from 4% per year for patients with subtype, IgA nephropathy, to 16% per year for patients with subtype, vasculitis. Furthermore, patients with lupus nephritis were almost 2x as likely to die as those with IgA nephropathy. In other words, the specific type of glomerular disease determined how long a patient lived after developing kidney failure. As one researcher put it, “when you divide patients according to their glomerular disease subtype, you actually see a whole spectrum of outcomes (O’Shaughnessy).” And yet, the current standard of care is to follow a similar treatment plan for most kidney-failure patients, regardless of cause.

“We showed that a patient’s cause of kidney failure is strongly associated with their risk of dying after starting dialysis or receiving a kidney transplant.” Thus, treatment can no longer be generalized and non-specific. Medical professionals cannot ignore the cause of kidney failure and proceed with treatment as though all kidney failures are one and the same. The cause of kidney failure cannot be forgotten. Rather, it should be the stepping point from which treatments are determined, and tailored toward disease-specific risks. More so, further research is necessary to determine why these survival disparities exit from one patient to the next. If medical professionals begin to take into consideration what caused the kidneys to fail in the first place, it could possibly improve the patient’s quality of life and even increase their life span following kidney-failure.

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