At Official Start of 2018 Hurricane Season, American Kidney Fund Gears Up for Rapid Response with Disaster Relief Program for Dialysis Patients

ROCKVILLE, Md., May 31, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A year after the devastating 2017 hurricane season in which storms battered the southern United States and its Caribbean territories, the American Kidney Fund (AKF) is gearing up at the official start of this year’s hurricane season to prepare to assist dialysis patients who may be in the path of this year’s storms.

Forecasters from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predict a 35 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 25 percent chance of a below-normal season for the 2018 hurricane season which extends from June 1 to Nov. 30.

“We learned a lot from our disaster relief efforts in 2017, including how to overcome many of the challenges in getting funds to patients when they are displaced and their primary clinics are closed,” said LaVarne A. Burton, president and chief executive officer of the American Kidney Fund. “Though we all hope that we never see another hurricane year like 2017, our Patient Services team is working to apply what we learned to streamline our processes even further to reach patients in need as quickly as possible.” 

When a natural disaster such as a hurricane strikes a community, dialysis patients—even when faced with evacuations, property losses, power outages and other effects of the storms—must still find a way to receive their life-sustaining dialysis treatments. Losing access to health care in the wake of a storm can be a matter of life and death: A recent report in the New England Journal of Medicine by Harvard researchers attributes one-third of Puerto Rico’s more than 4,600 deaths after Hurricane Maria to delayed or interrupted health care services.

AKF’s Disaster Relief Program is a rapid-response system that provides emergency assistance to dialysis patients to help replace medications, food and household items, and pay for essentials such as the cost of fuel or transportation to dialysis treatments and medical appointments. AKF’s Disaster Relief Program has provided critically needed assistance to dialysis patients for many years, helping people in the aftermath of the nation’s most devastating disasters, including hurricanes Harvey, Maria, Katrina, Ike, Sandy, Matthew and many more.

Beginning with Hurricane Harvey’s landfall in Texas on Aug. 25 last year, AKF began an assistance effort unprecedented in the kidney community that provided nearly $850,000 in emergency assistance to more than 3,800 dialysis patients, primarily in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

Charity Navigator included AKF on its list of highly rated charities that were providing aid to survivors of the hurricanes, and AKF was cited by National Public Radio, the New York Times and USA Today as a trusted source of disaster relief for dialysis patients.

About the American Kidney Fund

As the nation’s leading nonprofit working on behalf of the 30 million Americans with kidney disease, the American Kidney Fund is dedicated to ensuring that every kidney patient has access to health care, and that every person at risk for kidney disease is empowered to prevent it. AKF provides a complete spectrum of programs and services: prevention outreach, top-rated health educational resources, and direct financial assistance enabling 1 in 5 U.S. dialysis patients to access lifesaving medical care, including dialysis and transplantation. AKF holds the highest ratings from the nation’s charity watchdog groups, including Charity Navigator, which includes AKF on its “top 10” list of nonprofits with the longest track records of outstanding stewardship of the donated dollar, and GuideStar, which has awarded AKF its Platinum Seal of Transparency.

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