July 10 (UPI) — President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday clearing the way for improved care, lower costs and more preventative measures for people with kidney disease.

The order will launch the Advancing American Kidney Health initiative, which aims to fight kidney disease using multiple approaches, including the speeding up of matching patients and donors for transplants, making home-dialysis a more common option, pushing development of artificial kidneys and improve costs for treatment.

“My order supports the selfless individuals who donate kidneys by granting them reimbursements for extra expenses associated with organ donations such as lost wages and job care,” Trump said. “This action will also dramatically improve prevention and treatment for this life-threatening illness while making life better and longer for millions of Americans.”

The order will attempt to speed up the time it takes to match patients and donors for kidney transplants. It will also seek to shorten the time it takes for transplant candidates to receive kidneys from transplant centers.

Trump estimates his streamlined plan could mean an additional 17,000 kidney transplants, along with an additional 11,000 heart, lung and liver transplants each year. Last year, there were more than 21,000 kidney transplants, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.

The plan will also call for Medicare to provide reimbursement incentives to medical providers that promote preventative kidney care.

“We will be changing the way that we reimburse Medicare providers, encouraging them to diagnose and treat patients earlier, [which will] allow for home care and increase the rate of transplants,” Trump said.

In the United States, more than 100,000 people are waiting for a kidney transplant, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The National Institutes of Health estimates chronic kidney disease affects roughly 14 percent of the U.S. population.

In 2016, Medicare spent nearly $80 billion to treat people with chronic kidney disease. The program paid more than $62,000 for each end-stage renal care patient in 2013.

Kidney health is something to hits close to home for Trump. In 2018, First Lady Melania Trump underwent surgery to treat a benign kidney condition.

“President Trump is not content with a healthcare system where millions of Americans receive costly, burdensome treatments when better options are possible and available,” said Alex M. Azar, HHS secretary.

To help reduce those costs, the president has pushed to step up measures to prevent kidney disease, to encourage the development of artificial kidneys and to increase the use of at-home dialysis.

Dialysis providers have already taken a financial hit in anticipation of the executive order. DaVita and Fresenius Medical Care hold 75 percent of the dialysis market share. In anticipation of today’s announcement, DaVita stock prices dropped by 5 percent on Tuesday.



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