10/3/03 - American Nephrology Nurses' Association (ANNA) Launches Education Campaign for Legislators

October 3, 2003


Information: Elise Denmon

(856) 256-2300; denmone@ajj.com

American Nephrology Nurses’ Association (ANNA) Launches Education Campaign for Legislators

Nurses invited policymakers to dialysis units nationwide to teach them about kidney disease.

Pitman, NJ - Legislators across the country are beginning to understand kidney disease like never before, thanks to a national campaign by the American Nephrology Nurses’ Association (ANNA).

ANNA invited lawmakers to dialysis units in their districts for ESRD Education Day on August 15, 2003 (and other days suitable to their schedules) to teach them about end stage renal disease (ESRD), the dialysis procedure, and the scope of care provided by dialysis nurses and other members of the health care team. Over 100 policymakers participated, including members of Congress, state legislators, governors, mayors, and their staff. Also attending were state health department representatives and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) Regional Office staff.

Responding to the intense interest from legislators, ANNA is making this activity an annual event. In addition, the nurses are inviting legislators who could not attend in August to visit dialysis units in their districts through the end of the year.

According to ANNA officials, it is crucial for legislators to understand dialysis because it is a critical service their constituents receive as Medicare beneficiaries under the government’s Medicare reimbursement program for ESRD.

"This was an eye-opening experience for both the lawmakers and the nurses," said ANNA Legislative Consultant Nancy Sharp, MSN, RN, FAAN. "The policymakers were pleased to be invited to a health care facility to see firsthand when dialysis units were in full operation. They expressed their sincere gratitude and made offers to help with legislative issues. The nephrology nurses were pleased at the response from policymakers who cared enough about these patients to make a visit."

During the dialysis tours, nurses described daily operations of the unit, outlined the role of nurses and patient care technicians, discussed kidney disease and treatment, and provided information about the number of dialysis units and patients served in each district. Legislators also received ANNA’s ESRD Briefing Book for State and Federal Policymakers. The booklet presents in lay terms the basics of ESRD and includes information on underlying conditions (such as diabetes and hypertension) and statistics on incidence and treatment costs.

In America, over 340,000 people are currently on dialysis. Approximately 20 million have kidney disease due to complications from hypertension and diabetes among other conditions, and could end up on dialysis in the future. Due to the widespread incidence of kidney disease, ANNA is deeply involved in many prevention programs and education initiatives.

For more information on ESRD Education Day or to download the ESRD Briefing Book, visit ANNA’s Web site, www.annanurse.org


ANNA is a professional nursing association comprised of more than 12,000 nephrology nurses. The association is dedicated to advancing nephrology nursing practice and positively influencing outcomes for patients with kidney or other disease processes requiring replacement therapies through advocacy, scholarship, and excellence.