Transforming Kidney Care

An estimated 37 million Americans live with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and nearly 700,000 have end stage renal disease (ESRD). Treatment can be challenging and costly for both patients and payers. In fact, dialysis alone costs Medicare approximately $35 billion annually. Yet, despite the enormous cost, patient outcomes are poor, with nearly one in six dialysis patients dying in the first year after starting treatment.United States Renal Data System. 2018 USRDS annual data report: Epidemiology of kidney disease in the United States. National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, MD, 2018.

At CVS Health, we are working to fundamentally transform the treatment paradigm for the millions of patients with CKD and ESRD through CVS Kidney Care, a CVS Health company first announced in April 2018. Specifically, we are focused on early identification of kidney disease, targeted patient engagement and ongoing education to help slow disease progression, and expansion of home dialysis to optimize care for patients.

Improved Access to Better Treatment Outcomes

Currently, hemodialysis, which uses a machine to mimic the role of a functioning kidney and clean a patient’s blood, is most commonly administered in a dialysis center three times per week for four hours a day. However, an expanding body of scientific literature indicates that clinical outcomes for hemodialysis patients can be improved if treatments are more frequent and longer in duration,Culleton BF, Walsh M, Klarenbach SW, et al. Effect of frequent nocturnal hemodialysis vs conventional hemodialysis on left ventricular mass and quality of life: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2007;298(11):1291-1299.Kotanko P, Garg AX, Depner T, et al. Effects of frequent hemodialysis on blood pressure: Results from the randomized frequent hemodialysis network trials. Hemodialysis Int. 2015:19(3): 386-401.Nesrallah GE, Lindsay RM, Cuerden MS, et al. Intensive hemodialysis associates with improved survival compared with conventional hemodialysis. J Am Soc Nephrol 2012; 23 (4): 696-705. which can be challenging to achieve via in-center dialysis. 

As part of our commitment to make home dialysis a real option for more patients, CVS Health has initiated a clinical trial designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the HemoCare™ Hemodialysis System. The innovative device includes safety features and is designed to make home hemodialysis simple for patients.

“We are working to bring a new solution to the consumer that addresses the current barriers to and limitations of existing dialysis options,” said Alan Lotvin, M.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Transformation Officer, CVS Health.

CVS Kidney Care will also support other treatment options such as transplant and peritoneal dialysis.

Earlier Identification and Better Patient Education

Many people who have kidney disease don’t know it. In fact, in the U.S., 43 percent of those with severely reduced kidney function are not aware that they have chronic kidney disease.1 By promoting early diagnosis, we will work to help delay the onset of dialysis and avoid emergency hospitalization, which is one of the biggest drivers of cost in kidney care. 

In addition, and as we expand our CVS Kidney Care programs and services, we will offer all-inclusive education to diagnosed patients, including face-to-face, personalized support and therapy education, as well as other proven patient engagement strategies. This begins with helping patients better understand the treatment options available to them, as well as educating them on critical factors such as kidney health, diet, comorbidities, and prescription management.

Aligned with HHS Priorities

Last week, an executive order aimed at improving kidney care helped launch a new Advancing Kidney Health initiative of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This marked an important step forward in kidney care as the administration pledged to double the number of kidney transplants performed in the U.S and reduce ESRD kidney failure by 25 percent by 2030 through better education and care during early forms of the disease. Furthermore, the administration wants 80 percent of newly diagnosed people with kidney failure to receive a transplant or move from clinic-based dialysis to less expensive and more effective in-home care by 2025.

Our CVS Kidney Care focus aligns with the core objectives of this new initiative, and uniquely positions us to help advance and support the administration’s directives to improve early detection of and expand treatment options for kidney care. Added Dr. Lotvin, “We applaud the administration for taking bold steps toward advancing kidney care as they are helping to rethink how to make kidney transplant and home dialysis mainstays of therapy.”

Across our CVS Health enterprise, we are committed to transforming the health care system to better meet the needs of patients and reduce overall costs. Our unique approach to kidney care is one way that we are doing this as we work to help more people on their path to better health.

To learn more about our CVS Kidney Care offerings, visit cvshealth.com/kidneycare.

07.17.19