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Stemming the Tide of Chronic Kidney Disease in the African American Community

WHEREAS, Chronic Kidney Disease refers to a slow progressing condition that can lead to end-stage renal disease (ESRD), also known as kidney failure, that requires lifetime healthcare treatment; and

WHEREAS, diabetes and/or hypertension are the most common causes of chronic kidney disease, and are diseases that are more common in the African American community -diabetes specifically is 60% more common among African Americans than Caucasians; and

WHEREAS, more than 726,000 Americans currently have end-stage renal disease, with the number of new diagnoses increasing 5% each year, African Americans constitute more than 35% of all patients in the U.S. receiving dialysis for kidney failure, but only represent 13.2% of the overall U.S. population; and

WHEREAS, the prevalence of both chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease are disproportionately high in the community, where African Americans are three times more likely to develop end-stage renal disease than Caucasians; and

WHEREAS, kidney disease in African Americans often goes untreated until it reaches the later stages because of a lack of awareness among patients and limited preventive care that includes nutritional intervention, to slow progression of the disease; and

WHEREAS, "crashing" into dialysis, when patients are in kidney failure and need immediate treatment in a hospital to sustain life, restricts treatment choices; and

WHEREAS, other barriers, including biases among treating clinicians, a lack of access to home dialysis care experts and a low level of treatment choice education, also restrict access to the full suite of care options; and

WHEREAS, patients from communities of color and from lower-income neighborhoods make up large numbers of ESRD patients who receive dialysis treatment in clinics or centers; and

WHEREAS, there are three treatment options for end-stage renal disease - in-center hemodialysis, home dialysis (peritoneal dialysis and home hemodialysis) and kidney transplant from a living or deceased kidney donor; and

WHEREAS, African Americans are almost 35% less likely than average to receive peritoneal dialysis and 16% less likely to receive home hemodialysis than average; and

WHEREAS, African Americans are less likely to be placed on the deceased kidney donor waiting list, which is the preferred treatment for end-stage renal disease; and

WHEREAS, Medicare provides coverage for dialysis treatment for all Americans, regardless of age, thus providing access to care not always seen in other disease states; and

WHEREAS, monthly blood transfusion, and stroke prevention treatment are available or affordable to those with the greatest need for such treatments; and

WHEREAS, the average annual cost in treating end-stage renal disease patients is lower for peritoneal dialysis compared to in-center hemodialysis.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP demands that the medical and health care industry provide equity in kidney disease treatment including increased education for African Americans focused on driving awareness of kidney disease risk factors, treatment and prevention strategies, and treatment options.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP calls for the implementation of new kidney disease and diabetes education programs and availability of well-trained specialists nationwide, to include nephrologists; clinical nutritionists; nephrology nurses; primary care providers; certified diabetes educators; certified dietitians; community health workers; and Medicare and health care coverage experts, as well as increased access to screening and preventive care services for the African American community.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP demands that African Americans and other people of color have access to health care providers with knowledge and experience of the specific needs of kidney disease patients; who will provide unbiased information on all treatment options; and who will ensure equitable access to effective, high-quality treatment based on patients' needs and preferences, including home dialysis, in-center dialysis, and transplantation.