The government is preparing a radical set of proposals which could revolutionize how patients of chronic kidney disease are treated. Chronic kidney disease and other kidney ailments are diseases in which a patient’s kidneys work at a reduced level for long periods of time or stop powering completely. The kidneys are filters of the blood, removing waste products and toxins from the human body. Those wastes and toxins are then expelled through urine.
With kidney disease, even with treatment, those wastes, and toxins build up in
the body causing damage to other organs and other illnesses, including diabetes.
About 37 million Americans are afflicted with the disease, which comes to about 15 percent of the population. The government health insurance program, Medicare, covers about half a million people with end-stage kidney disease.
It ends up spending more on their care than anyone else suffering from chronic kidney disease. End-stage kidney disease patients are 1 percent of Medicare beneficiaries; however, they account for 7 percent of claims which comes to $35 billion. The total cost exceeds $100 billion a year.
The proposals are designed move financial incentives for clinics and doctors away from relying primarily on dialysis and have more transplants at higher rates for those who need them. Experts have said the best, most cost-effective way to treat a patient with an illness like chronic kidney disease is transplant. However, long wait lists due to organ donor shortage prevents that. The proposals would help rectify that by encouraging living individuals to donate. This would add reimbursement for lost wages and child care and is expected to double the number of kidneys available by 2030.
Kidneys from the living are considered the best option, but those who donate require recuperative time. The long-term plan would also have 80 percent of newly diagnosed people with end-stage kidney disease moved from clinic-based dialysis by 2025. Additionally, these proposals would reduce the number of Americans developing end-stage disease by 25 percent before 2030.
Experts say the current system itself is stagnant and has not changed for the last 50 years. Currently, patients must go to facilities for a process called dialysis. Here, the patient’s blood is fed through a machine which removes most of the toxins and waste which build up. While they system has been a stable in treating the with chronic kidney disease, there are other problems aside from cost.
Patients must go at least three times a week to undergo the process which could take three hours. This makes holding down a full-time job nearly impossible. Only 12 percent of American can undergo dialysis at home. This is a rate which is far behind the rest of the world.
Additionally, experts point out dialysis has not changed much in the last fifty years either. They point out treatments for other illnesses, such as HIV and diabetes have progressed considerable. But the system the government has been using for chronic kidney disease does not encourage private investment.
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