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Gus Bilirakis Champions the New Era for Preventing End-Stage Kidney Disease Act

Last week, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., introduced the “New Era for Preventing End-Stage Kidney Disease Act.”

The congressman’s office offered some of the reasons behind the proposal.

“This important legislation will help transform the delivery of care to rare kidney disease patients by increasing community and healthcare provider awareness and education. Each year, Medicare spends more than $84 billion providing critical care to patients with chronic kidney disease, including $36 billion on patients with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD). Unfortunately, there has been little innovation in treatment options for kidney disease patients since the 1960s when dialysis and immunosuppressants became commonplace. Earlier this year, the FDA approved the first-of-its-kind non-immunosuppressive drug therapy for the rare kidney disease IgA Nephropathy. Yet oftentimes, patients struggle to find a nephrologist well-versed in their rare conditions who can provide an accurate diagnosis and expert treatment. These treatment and diagnostic barriers, coupled with the lack of rare kidney disease awareness and education, often cause a delay in diagnosis that can result in a rapid decline in kidney function and, ultimately, kidney failure. For many rare kidney disease patients, their only options are dialysis, transplant, or death,” Bilirakis’ office noted.

“Our life-saving legislation will help remove diagnostic and treatment barriers for many patients suffering with a rare disease,” said Bilirakis. “Through the establishment of Rare Kidney Disease Research Centers of Excellence and increased provider education efforts, we will empower providers to better identify the signs and symptoms of rare kidney disease, which will lead to improved treatment options and better patient outcomes.”

U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., is co-sponsoring the bill.

“Far too many people living with rare kidney disease have trouble finding specialized care providers. Increasing awareness and education is crucial to caring for rare kidney disease patients, which is why I’m so proud to introduce the New Era For Preventing End Stage Kidney Disease Act. This legislation will make critical improvements to the way patients with rare kidney disease, especially those in underserved communities, access and receive care,” said Sewell.

“NephCure commends Congressman Gus Bilirakis and Congresswoman Terri Sewell for championing the New Era of Preventing End-Stage Kidney Disease Act and efforts to see a future in which improved diagnoses, access to treatments, and patient empowerment converge to reshape the trajectory of rare kidney diseases,” said NephCure CEO Joshua Tarnoff. “This bill can change how we take care of rare kidney disease patients through earlier detection and access to the right treatments, providing rare kidney disease education opportunities to doctors and patients, and allocating money for research. We are proud of the essential contributions the rare kidney disease community played in the development and introduction of the New Era of Preventing End-Stage Kidney Disease Act. We are committed to continue working alongside Congressman Bilirakis and Congresswoman Sewell to pass this important legislation in the 118th Congress.”

The bill was sent to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce and the Ways and Means Committees. So far, there is no companion bill in the U.S. Senate.

Author

  • Kevin Derby

    Originally from Jacksonville, Kevin Derby is a contributing writer for Florida Daily and covers politics across Florida.

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