Thanks to a recent move by the federal government—informed, in part, by Partners Population Health—millions of patients with kidney disease will soon benefit from more comprehensive, patient-centered care. The measure, Advancing American Kidney Health, aims to enhance awareness and prevention of end-stage renal disease (ESRD), while expanding the availability of transplantable kidneys and kidney care innovations.

Mallika Mendu, MD, MBA, Associate Medical Director for Specialty Programs at Partners Population Health, played a key role in the development of the initiative as a member of the American Society of Nephrology Quality Committee. “The Advancing American Kidney Health is the biggest transformation of kidney policy since the Medicare ESRD benefit 46 years ago, and aims to improve coordination of care, facilitate patient-centered care, stem progression of kidney disease, increase transplantation, and improve clinical outcomes while reducing costs,” says Dr. Mendu.

The ninth-leading cause of death in the U.S., ESRD impacts the quality of life of more than 25 million adults, and ultimately requires either lifelong dialysis treatment or kidney transplant. Navigating renal care can be confusing and costly for patients, which is why Partners previously established the High-Risk Care Management Program for End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) to provide care coordination to high-risk patients with ESRD. The team has also developed an ESRD Registry to help identify care gaps across the spectrum of chronic kidney disease care, inform clinical quality improvement, and enable population health strategy implementation.

With key steps already taken by the Department of Health and Human Services to implement the new Advancing American Kidney Health measure, the hope is that more health organizations and providers nationwide will pursue incentives to prevent kidney disease and manage kidney patient health more holistically. “Nephrologists across Partners have embraced the concepts behind this vision for the past decade and are well positioned to act on the proposal,” says Dr. Mendu. “This is an historic moment for patients with kidney disease in our country.”

Topics: Integrated Care, Prevention, Access to Care, Legislation

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