Trump administration to unveil plan to overhaul kidney care: reports

The Trump administration is planning formal steps to change kidney care, according to media reports. (Getty/Jupiterimages)

The Trump administration is planning formal steps to increase access to kidney transplants and encourage the use of in-home dialysis, according to media reports.

President Donald Trump will give a speech on kidney care Wednesday, and some details of what exactly is planned have leaked out of the White House. Politico reports that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will announce new payment models aimed at kidney care, and Trump is considering an executive order to further these plans.

HHS is also set to unveil an agency-wide program to improve prevention and screening for kidney diseases. The final pieces of the plan are still in the works ahead of the announcement tomorrow, sources told Politico.

Administration officials have hinted at such steps in recent months. In a March speech at the National Kidney Foundation's Kidney Patient Advocate Summit, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said the sector is ripe for change.

“Today, Medicare covers most patients with kidney failure, but we don’t begin spending a great deal on these patients until they’re already sick,” Azar said. “It is the epitome of a system that pays for sickness rather than health and this administration is intent on shifting these priorities.” 

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In the speech, Azar pointed to in-home dialysis and transplantation access as priorities in initiatives targeting kidney care.

The White House believes that these changes will extend the lives of people in need of kidney care and could save the government billions in payments for costly dialysis treatments, The Washington Post reports. Both outlets cite people familiar with the announcements in their reporting.

The administration also estimates that 17,000 additional kidneys could be made available for transplantation through its plan to reduce waste of potentially usable organs. In addition, it could offer 11,000 more hearts, livers, lungs and other organs to those needing transplants, according to the Post.