A recent investigation found the American Kidney Fund has been holding back on giving funding to patients at clinic who do not donate. The American Kidney Fund is one of the nation’s largest charities and has a budget of over $250 million. It has a program to help patients with Kidney illness pay their insurance premiums for various treatments they undertake.
The kidneys are responsible for screening blood of waste and toxins, removing them from the blood and allowing people to release it in urine. When the kidneys are no longer able to do so, it is said the person has suffered kidney injury.
Chronic kidney disease is an illness which effects millions and is constant reduced function or no function of one or both kidneys. Those who suffer from chronic kidney disease experience a variety of symptoms such as fatigue or high blood pressure, if they have any symptoms at all early on.
For many, the only treatment option aside from transplant, which can mean years on a waiting list, is dialysis. Dialysis is a medical procedure where the blood is filtered by machinery and can be very costly. This procedure is important to those who have chronic kidney disease; without some way of filtering blood, toxins and waste build up in the blood and cause organ damage and possibly failure.
But the processes requires patients to be present at the facility, connected to a machine for several hours, three days a week. Studies have shown many patients cannot hold full-time jobs and
those receiving the treatment are poor. Medicare covers most of the 500,000 no matter their age, though that costs the federal government more than $30 billion a year. Still, even with these costs, a patient could pay $120 and other medical expenses which can amount to several thousand a year.
The federal government requires the charity disperse the money to those patients who are in financial need with all patients treated equally. But the investigation showed the charity discouraged many clinic from signing their patients up if the clinic had not donated. The result is patients with massive bills from hospitals and conditions which get worse and worse without treatment. And if this falls through, the only help available is for patients with end-stage renal disease, essentially patients
who are unable to work. This help covers insurance premiums for those with Medicare, employer and private plans.
The American Kidney Fund has denied these allegations, though they have admitted to pushing extra hard at times, believing these clinics should contribute.