Trump orders overhaul of kidney disease payments and treatment

The Trump administration has put forward an executive order designed to incentivize at-home kidney dialysis, potentially affecting tens of thousands of people who undergo the procedure at commercial clinics.

The order also aims to create new payment models for transplants, and hopes to encourage the development of artificial organs—with the goal of doubling the total number of available kidneys by 2030. Currently, more than 100,000 people are waiting for a potential kidney transplant.

Shares of DaVita and Fresenius Medicare Care, two of the largest operators of dialysis centers in the U.S., both took hits earlier this week after Politico broke the news ahead of the White House’s official announcement Wednesday morning. 

There, President Donald Trump said the order would direct the government to reimburse kidney donors for additional costs associated with the procedure—such as for lost wages and child care expenses—and would change the structure of Medicare reimbursements for at-home dialysis care. 

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Trump also said the government hopes to save about $4.2 billion in overall treatment costs, by moving patients to kidney transplants sooner compared to having them on prolonged dialysis.

In a statement, DaVita said it was “energized” by the administration’s focus on combating kidney disease, which Trump described as a core national priority in his announcement. 

"We've been investing in capabilities to deliver holistic care that addresses our patients' needs beyond kidney disease, such as mental health, social services and nutrition,” said DaVita CEO Javier Rodriguez. “We will continue to work with the administration and Congress to launch programs that address broader care opportunities."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 125,000 people in the U.S. began treatments for end-stage kidney disease in 2016, with more than 726,000 being on dialysis or living with a kidney transplant.