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Reflections on an Amazing Year of Kidney Community Advocacy

As we bid farewell to another remarkable year at the Northwest Kidney Council, it’s a time to reflect on the accomplishments and impactful moments that have defined our journey in 2023.

We’re proud to say that this year was defined by an unwavering commitment to our mission of promoting kidney health and enhancing the lives of those affected by kidney disease. Bear with us as we take a moment (or a few minutes) to revisit some of the key highlights that shaped our year.

Bringing Our Community Together

Education remains at the heart of our efforts, and this year, we expanded our outreach initiatives to reach a broader audience. Our team collaborated with healthcare professionals, community organizations, and advocates to ensure that vital information and support reached those who needed it most.

  • We hosted three Council Conversations — focused on palliative care, mental health, and cultural competency — that were informative and engaging. Thank you to all our esteemed panelists, and of course, to our partners who attended. We are absolutely hoping to continue to provide these kinds of learning opportunities into 2024.

  • We toured a dialysis clinic in Olympia, Washington, where we were joined by representatives from local legislative offices. We met with patients and providers alike, seeing firsthand the challenges that the dialysis community faces daily. Next year, we’re hoping to tour more facilities and meet with as many patients and providers as we can to make sure their stories are told.

A big thank you to providers Justin Martin, Brenda McCallon, Rachelle Lusk, and Allison Sykes for sharing your experiences with us and allowing the Northwest Kidney Council to carry your stories to decisionmakers.

Successful Advocacy in Salem and Olympia

Advocacy for better kidney health policies and support systems in both Oregon and Washington was a cornerstone of our work in 2023. We actively engaged with policymakers, advocating for increased reimbursement rates, improved access to care and supports for providers, and policies aimed at reducing the burden of kidney disease for families.

In Washington, we successfully advocated for a long-needed 30 percent increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates for dialysis providers, as well as bills that would:

  • Allow organ transplant vehicles to use lights and sirens,

  • Allow medical assistant hemodialysis technicians to work while they wait for their formal certificates,

  • Allow Washington to join the Multistate Nurse Licensure Compact,

  • Allow kidney centers more flexibility to staff their facilities during times of emergency, and

  • Improve diversity in clinical trials.

In Oregon, we engaged on a number of bills that would help the kidney community by:

  • Allowing limited licensure to out-of-state nurses,

  • Streamline the credentialing process for hemodialysis technicians,

  • Require the Oregon Health Authority to cover continuous glucose monitoring products for anyone that uses insulin (although it didn’t pass this year), and

  • A task force to study challenges hospitals are facing as they discharge patients.

The Northwest Kidney Council team was thrilled to be in person again at both state legislatures after the pandemic had made that an impossibility in recent years. We hosted an Advocacy Day during National Kidney Month where we met with dozens of lawmakers in both states and distributed our district factsheets – which we created this year to educate lawmakers on the kidney community in their own districts. Find yours here!

We’d like to extend our gratitude to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee for proclaiming March as National Kidney Month and September as National Polycystic Kidney Disease Awareness Month in the Evergreen State. Having these recognitions from the highest level of state government is critical in our efforts to raise awareness about kidney disease.

Strengthening Our Partnerships

Partnerships are essential in amplifying our impact. This year, we forged new collaborations with healthcare providers, educational institutions, and other organizations sharing our vision. By fostering these partnerships, we strengthened our ability to support the delivery of comprehensive care, raise awareness, and support ongoing research efforts.

In the second half of 2023, we launched a new feature, which we hope to expand in the new year — our Partner Profiles. Thank you to those organizations that took the time to share your journeys and missions with us, so far:

We also once again worked with the amazing folks at Donate Life Northwest to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation during Donate Life Month this past spring. Check out our joint blog post here.

We’re always looking for opportunities to share the good work our partners do – and of course, for new partners as well. Let’s all row in the same direction. Reach out to us any time to chat.

Looking Ahead to 2024

As we step into the new year, the Northwest Kidney Council remains dedicated to our mission. We envision a future where kidney health disparities are minimized, where innovative treatments transform patient care, and where every individual affected by kidney disease receives the support and resources they deserve.

In closing, we extend our deepest gratitude to our supporters, volunteers, staff, healthcare partners, and the entire community for their unwavering commitment and contribution to our cause. Together, we will continue to make strides towards a world where kidney health is prioritized and every individual has the opportunity for a healthier, fulfilling life.

Thank you for being a part of our journey in 2023. Here’s to a future filled with hope, progress, and renewed determination.


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