KANSAS CITY, Mo. — President Donald Trump is putting forward an ambitious plan aimed at improving care for millions of Americans with kidney disease. The goal is to change the kinds of treatment many patients get while also fast-tracking kidney transplants.
Curtisha Anderson is used to taking a lot of medications. She was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease when she was just 14.
“I began to have a lot of swelling. I was really fatigued,” Anderson said.
Like many of the 37 million other Americans with kidney disease, her first line of defense was dialysis. She started going to a clinic for treatments multiple times a week.
“I just decided I’d make the best of my situation,” Anderson said.
Thankfully she was a good candidate for in-home dialysis and switched to that treatment plan. Her kidneys eventually got healthy enough, she discontinued treatment for 22 years before she needed dialysis again.
Two years ago, Curtisha received the gift of life.
“My life has really been changed by having a kidney transplant. I don’t have the limitations of being on dialysis. So life is really good,” said Anderson.
Now. she volunteers time with the National Kidney Foundation in Overland Park.
The organization helped champion changes in federal policy, just signed into an executive order by President Trump.
Currently, more than 80-percent of dialysis patients get treatment at a clinic, which often requires multiple visits over 12-hours each week. Only 12-percent of patients are now getting in-home dialysis. The new order looks to flip that to 80-percent of patients getting in-home treatment by 2020.
“It’s a wonderful thing to have so much awareness and to have an executive order that’s going to really usher in a new era in the way we treat and think about kidney disease in this country,” said Chad Iseman, National Kidney Foundation regional vice president.
The president’s order also looks to help fast-track patients for transplant.
It’s estimated the two moves could save billions of taxpayer dollars spent on more costly and long-term treatments for Medicare and Medicaid patients, while also improving their quality of life.
“Doing dialysis at home gave me the flexibility to still work, to be a mom, to be a wife,” said Anderson.
And Curtisha’s glad more kidney patients may now enjoy those same freedoms.
The National Kidney Foundation continues to work on two other important initiatives, including extension of coverage for medications required after patients receive a kidney transplant and research to create an artificial kidney.