Laboratory Corporation of America® Holdings announces the launch of a national effort to combat chronic kidney disease (CKD) in North America. US Senator Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), a supporter of newly passed legislation to fight CKD, and representatives of the National Kidney Foundation are joining executives of LabCorp at the Kannapolis, NC event today announcing the new initiative.

The cornerstone of the effort is a program offered by LabCorp‘s Litholink subsidiary that provides highly nuanced, patient-specific clinical guidance to physicians based on the National Kidney Foundation’s Kidney Disease Outcome Quality Initiative (KDOQI). This program is designed to support nephrologists as well as internal medicine, family practitioners, general practitioners, nurse practitioners and all other healthcare professionals who provide primary care to patients.

According to a recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 26 million Americans have CKD. More importantly, of the 15.5 million of these affected individuals who have lost between half and three quarters of their kidney function, almost 90% are unaware of their disease and approximately 25% will die within 5 years if not treated. In addition, end stage renal disease (ESRD) has become a major economic burden for our government, with the roughly 400,000 people on dialysis consuming approximately 6% of the Medicare budget.

Senator Dole recently voted for the passage of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008, which included provisions to fight CKD. The Act became law last month when Congress overrode a veto by President Bush. In commenting on the newly passed law Senator Dole said, "Chronic kidney disease is rapidly becoming a serious public health threat, particularly in eastern North Carolina," said Dole. "I am hopeful that with the quality, education, and treatment measures called for under the recently passed Medicare Bill, we can reduce the staggering effects of kidney disease not only on individuals and their families, but also on the Medicare system as a whole."

Litholink, a subsidiary of LabCorp, is the only clinical laboratory to offer a programmatic approach to chronic kidney disease management by providing decision support to physicians, quarterly outcomes reports benchmarked against physicians’ peers, consultation, patient compliance and education, and research. It has demonstrated in many published peer reviewed studies in leading medical journals regarding its chronic kidney stone program that its techniques can allow community physicians to practice on par with leading specialists at academic medical centers. 

"We believe we will be able to provide both the experienced nephrologist and other health care providers a program which will substantially ease the problems they experience in CKD management today," said Brian Coe, Chief Executive Officer, Litholink. "Importantly, we believe there will also be substantial savings to the healthcare system, both public and private."