The preferred grassroots method to advance legislation is to personally make contact with the offices of your three Members of Congress (two U.S. Senators and one U.S. House Representative).
Contact the offices of your members of Congress
- Call your three Congressional offices in Washington, DC
- Upon reaching the Congressional office front desk staff, immediately identify yourself as a local constituent of that particular member of Congress.
- Additionally, state your connection to transplantation.
- Request to speak with the Healthcare Legislative Assitant (LA);
- If unavailable, ask to leave a message for the office Healthcare LA and/or request the email address of the healthcare LA.
- Discuss, leave a voicemail, or email your three Congressional Office Healthcare Legislative Assistants (LA) using the following script:
Dear Senator / Representative [Name],
I am one of your many constituents whose lives have been impacted by kidney disease. I write to you today to express my significant concerns and opposition to the highly controversial bill, the Dialysis PATIENTS Demonstration Act of 2017 [S. 2065 / H.R. 4143]. This legislation is being heavily lobbied and supported by the large dialysis companies to pass….so I appreciate your time in listening to the concerns of a local constituent.
As a [kidney patient, dialysis patient, transplant patient, caregiver, medical professional], I fully support the goal of integrated care for kidney patients, but this legislation fails to protect the best interests of kidney patients and misses the goal. As introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, the bill:
* Restricts patient freedom of choice,
* Infringes upon the patient-doctor relationship,
* Disrupts patient care,
* Creates profound dis-incentives for kidney transplantation,
* Threatens access to high-quality care provided by non-profit and small dialysis providers, and
* Excludes patients if they are transplanted.
Under the bill, kidney patients are not treated as intelligent health consumers. Instead, they are automatically enrolled in a “demonstration program” through mandatory “opt-in” language. It then limits patients to a 75 day “opt-out” window if they decide the care they are receiving or the education they are given on life saving alternatives like kidney transplants, is inadequate.
If enacted, this legislation would add a heavy burden to patients already managing a very complex disease at a challenging time to both the patient and the family. I believe the onus should be put on the dialysis provider to actively encourage voluntary enrollment and then to keep patients participating through the provision of high quality care and full range of treatment options – including transplantation.
As written, this legislation could have serious unintended consequences for all potential kidney transplant patients. The legislation creates financial dis-incentives to transplantation by putting dialysis providers, companies whose business model is to profit from the number of dialysis care services provided, in a new role of coordinating kidney transplant options for patients. I believe and trust that kidney dialysis patients, working with the kidney care and expert transplant teams they choose, can make better decisions about what care options align with their aspirations.
I stand with the American Society of Transplantation (AST) in support of patient choice and integrated care, and in opposition to the S. 2065 & H.R. 4143, the Dialysis PATIENTS Demonstration Act. AST, along with the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP), American Society of Nephrology (ASN), American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS), Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO), Washington State Medical Society, Non-Profit Kidney Care Alliance, Rogosin Institute, Northwest Kidney Centers, Dialysis Clinics, Inc. (DCI), and a growing list of patient and consumer organizations have submitted joint letters to Congress in opposition to this bill.
As your constituent, I respectfully ask that you consider my concerns and oppose this flawed legislation.