The Next 40 Years
AKF has focused on education not only for patients but also for professionals. The move to online has benefited many professionals as well as those fighting kidney disease.
"We can reach a lot more professionals more efficiently," Burton said.
Partnerships are very important to AKF and their hopes are to build on those. Currently ,they work with media organizations, providers, pharmacy companies as well as other advocacy group, to get the word out.
"We think that all of these different groups and activities have to come together in the interest of the patient," she said.
Advocating not only at the state level but at the federal level is a major focus in order to have policies be developed around these assistance patient programs.
Problems with drug coverage, like immunosuppressive drugs for transplant patients, has been an issue for many years.
"We have an issue in this country that we make certain decisions in regards to health care policies that even from an economic perspective, as well as a humane perspective aren't quite relational or supportive," Burton said.
The need to change the three-year assistance that Medicare provides post transplant is a necessity. If an individual does not have the ability to pay for the immunosuppressive after the three years then the patients organ will fail and instead of paying roughly $20,000 a year, the government will end up paying $80,000 a year once the patient is back on dialysis.
"We want to make sure that we are a voice and we are there on behalf of the patients," Burton said.
Outreach is very critical, not only in the few large cities, but those rural areas as well.
"We work with a number of partnership organizations, particularly membership organizations, that are spread out throughout the United States," she said. "We work with them where we may not have staff."
Some of the programs they partner with and continue reaching out to is the National African-American Alpha Kappa Sorority, churches, Episcopal health ministries, national Baptist convention, and anyone out there that can help.
For the future the AKF has a vision to reach a point where there is no kidney disease.
"That might be very optimistic, but you know the reason is that we are all engaged in this because we want to bring an end to the disease," Burton said. "In the meantime to help those who need care and support them through our education and prevention efforts."