President Donald Trump signs executive order changing care for kidney patients

A SLUCare doctor was there when President Trump signed the order in Washington.

Fred Bodimer
July 11, 2019 - 9:08 am

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 10: U.S. President Donald Trump displays an executive order he has just signed during an event on kidney health at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center July 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump announced his plan of a new approach for kidney disease patients. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (KMOX) — President Trump has signed an executive order revamping the nation's care for kidney disease patients.

"This is going to be transformative," said Dr. Krista Lentine, the director of living donation for SLU Care and SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital.  She was in the room with the President at the White House when he signed the executive order.

"It has three main goals," Dr. Lentine tells KMOX.  "The first is to reduce the number of patients developing kidney failure and slowing the progression of the disease through efforts to initiate earlier disease detection and screening.  And to provide incentives for preventative care."
 
The order also offers greater access to home dialysis.

"The goal is within the next five years for 80-percent of patients to receive end-stage kidney disease care through home dialysis or thru transplantation."
 
Another key change:  a call for earlier transplants for patients in need.   But that may be difficult because of the nation's current organ shortage.  In some larger cities, patients can wait up to 8 years for a new kidney. In St. Louis, the wait is between 3 and 4 years.
 
The executive order also outlines Medicare payment changes.

"And it also removes barriers to living donation," said Dr. Lentine.  "For example, through providing reimbursement of lost wages and childcare costs for living donors going through the donation process."
 
The changes won't happen overnight because some of them will require new government regulations. 
 
Bottom line -- according to Dr. Krista Lentine at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital?

"These initiatives are really exciting, very encouraging and could really transform the way kidney care is delivered in this country."
 
More than 30 million Americans have chronic kidney disease -- costing Medicare a staggering $113 billion dollars.