Statements From The American Association Of Kidney Patients – Response To HHS Secretary Alex Azar Remarks On Kidney Care


March 5, 2019

Deborah Pelaez
Marketing and Communications Manager
(800) 749-AAKP;



Washington, D.C. In response to March 4, 2019 remarks delivered by Secretary Alex Azar in Washington, D.C. at the Kidney Patient Summit, the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) provides the following statements.

“Secretary Alex Azar’s speech was a clear signal to kidney patients that he listened to our shared concerns as consumers and taxpayers and is prepared to take bold action. He is keenly aware that the status quo of prevention, transplantation and bricks and mortar dialysis center care needs to evolve and that barriers to better outcomes must be eliminated. AAKP strongly supports Secretary Azar and the entire HHS leadership team in their efforts to realign incentives, push for more innovation including KidneyX and, most importantly, improve patient outcomes while decreasing unacceptably high disparity and mortality rates.”

Richard Knight, President of AAKP, is a former hemodialysis patient and has had a kidney transplant for over twelve years. He is an adjunct professor at Bowie State University, a business strategy and development consultant and a former Legislative Director on Capitol Hill. Mr. Knight serves on multiple Federal agency kidney research initiatives.

“Secretary Azar made a clarion call for kidney care reform before an audience of patient consumers, in his capacity as both the chief Federal health policy architect and as a caregiver to his father who experienced dialysis and the miracle of a kidney transplant. Secretary Azar has heard the frustrations and burdens of kidney patients, he understands kidney disease is both a healthcare and workforce issue and he knows that informed patient choice, coupled with policy reform and better care options, will allow patients to gain greater control over their lives. AAKP is honored to work with Secretary Azar and HHS civil servants to transform status quo kidney care into a value-based system defined by informed patient choice and treatments that empower, not impede, the inherent human aspirations to live, work and remain fully engaged in society.”

Paul T. Conway, AAKP Chair of Policy and Global Affairs and immediate past president, has managed kidney disease for thirty-eight years, including three years on dialysis and, for the past two decades, as a transplant recipient. He has served as a Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and as an agency Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He is a recipient of the DHS Secretary’s Meritorious Service Silver Medal.


 Founded in 1969, AAKP is the largest and oldest independent kidney patient organization in America. Governed by a patient-majority Board of Directors, AAKP conducts national education programs designed to better inform kidney patients and policy-makers about the true impacts of kidney disease. AAKP executes a national advocacy strategy to raise the patient voice before the Executive Branch and the U.S. Congress. Tax-deductible contributions can be made through AAKP’s website, www.aakp.orgFollow AAKP on social media at: Facebook: @kidneypatient; Twitter & Instagram: @kidneypatients

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