WASHINGTON D.C. - President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday which aims to advance kidney health treatment for patients battling kidney disease in the United States.
The executive order aims to promote expanded treatment options for American patients, such as better diagnosis, treatment, and preventative care to prevent kidney failure.
The new law also strengthens affordable substitute treatment options, educates patients on treatment options and supports the development of artificial kidneys.
Artificial kidneys have been in development for years and are led by a nephrologist named William H. Fissell IV, MD who works at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center with Professor Shuvo Roy from the University of California. Fissell and his fellow colleagues have been working on the development of an artificial kidney for over a decade. In November of 2015, the team was awarded a grant of $6 million to help fund the research and development.
The experts aim to create a bio-hybrid device that can follow the functions of a healthy kidney by removing enough waste products. The researchers say the goal with the device is to keep a patient from needing dialysis treatment.
According to The White House, the action by President Trump increases access to kidney transplants by overhauling the transplant system and bringing it up to date and updating counterproductive regulations. Under the executive order, Medicare will start modifying payment incentives which aim to encourage preventive kidney care and the use of home dialysis and kidney transplants.
"President Trump is directing his Administration to develop a process to get artificial kidneys to patients in order to encourage the development of such technology. The Administration will take action to streamline and expedite the process of kidney matching in order to help increase transplants," The White House stated Wednesday afternoon.
As part of the executive order, President Trump has directed the Department of Health to begin the process of removing financial obstacles to organ donations by authorizing reimbursement of lost wages and childcare expenses that organ donor often face.
The Trump Administration said on Wednesday "the current quality of care for patients with kidney disease is unacceptable and treatment options are far too expensive."
In the United States, 37 million patients suffer from chronic kidney disease, and an additional 726,000 have end-stage renal disease.
Trump said on Wednesday the current treatment options are too expensive and fail to provide a quality of life. Currently, kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the U.S, with nearly 100,000 Americans actively waiting for a kidney transplant.
"But today we’re taking groundbreaking action to bring new hope to millions of Americans suffering from kidney disease. It’s a big deal. Now, with today’s action, we’re making crucial progress on another core national priority — and that’s the fight against kidney disease. In 2017 — (applause) — in 2017, kidney disease was the ninth leading cause of death in the United States. Kidney health affects families throughout America and those who suffer from kidney disease experience a significant toll on their daily lives. I’ve spoken to people. They say the work is so intense. The time is so enormous that you spend. And it’s — it’s like a full-time job for people. Sometimes the work itself — I was speaking to Alex; he said the work itself is so intense, the work kills people. It literally kills. You have to work so hard," Trump said on Wednesday.
Trump continued, "For these patients, their loved ones, and for the impacted — all those impacted by kidney disease — I’m here to say: We are fighting by your side, and we’re determined to get you the best treatment anywhere in the world. And we’ve made a lot of progress. We are with you every step of the way. In a few moments, I’ll sign an executive order taking vital steps to increase the supply of kidney-available transplants. This action will also dramatically improve the prevention and treatment of this life-threatening illness while making life better and longer for millions of Americans. It’s a tremendous thing that’s happening," President Trump said.
Roughly 100,000 Americans begin dialysis treatment each year to treat end-stage renal disease, but fifty percent die within five years due to the disease.