Trump signs executive order aimed at improving kidney disease treatment

Trump signs executive order aimed at improving kidney disease treatment
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpStates slashed 4,400 environmental agency jobs in past decade: study Biden hammers Trump over video of world leaders mocking him Iran building hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq: report MORE on Wednesday signed an executive order that he says would improve the lives of patients with kidney disease while lowering health care costs.

The order instructs federal agencies to pursue strategies that will diagnose kidney disease sooner, make treatments less expensive and encourage more people to donate healthy kidneys. 

"This action will dramatically improve prevention and treatment of this life-threatening illness while making life better and longer," Trump said at a signing ceremony Wednesday, surrounded by patients. 

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A key part of the plan would shake up a multibillion-dollar industry, run by two dialysis companies, that favors expensive treatment in health centers instead of home-based services that can be easier for patients.

Currently, only 12 percent of dialysis patients receive treatment at home. Patients who receive dialysis in centers often go multiple times a week. 

"Doing this from the home is a dramatic, long overdue reform, something that people have been asking for for many, many years," Trump said Wednesday. 

The plan will also focus on diagnosing kidney disease earlier, slowing the progression of the disease and diverting patients to transplants rather than dialysis.

About 50 percent of dialysis patients will die within five years, said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. 

To make more kidneys available for transplant, the administration plans to crack down on the 58 groups that collect transplant organs from deceased donors. 

Some centers, like one in New York, have failed to meet federal performance standards, losing out on kidneys that could otherwise have been used to save a patient's life. 

The new rules will ensure organs "reach waiting patients as quickly as possible, because oftentimes they just don't make it in time," Trump said. 

In all, the administration estimates that the changes could make 17,000 additional kidneys available for transplant in one year.