On October 23th, 2017, a passionate and empowered group of patient advocates kicked off the year’s second, “Florida Kidney Day at the Capitol.” Due to an earlier session that took place this fall, this was the Florida Renal Coalition’s second time this year at the Florida state capital advocating for kidney patients. The first day was spent at the End Stage Renal Disease advisory meeting with the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). Over two dozen participants filed into the Agency to meet with the Program Administrator for the Bureau of Medicaid Policy, and several other AHCA officials to discuss an agenda formulated by the Florida Renal Administrators Public and Legislative Policy committee, Chaired by Bob Loeper. Topics included; Medicaid eligibility, transportation issues, medical specialty shelters, and 3rd party payer prohibitions.. The advisory committee was established to open the lines of communication with ACHA and bring forth the Industry’s concerns directly to the decision makers.
Later that evening, participants mingled and dined at local restaurant, Fifth and Thomas, where Amy Kozsuch, Florida Renal Administrator Association President, and Ron Watson, the Association’s lobbyist, divided everyone up into 5 groups and delegated meetings for the next day at the capital. The groups were provided agenda materials and assigned their legislative appointments for a full day of advocacy at the capital. On the 24th, participants assembled early in the Rotunda of the Capitol where the Florida Chapter of the National Kidney Foundation and the Florida Renal Administrators Association had set up an excellent display with informational packets for everyone entering the Capitol. Teams of advocates that were created the night before then fanned out throughout the Capitol to meet with the Legislators and Senators that serve on the substantive committees that handle our issues. An exciting part of the day included an exclusive tour on the official Senate floor which was executed by Ron Watson. We are grateful to be able to participate with the Florida Renal Coalition and Florida Renal Administrative Association to open these lines of communications between the organizations and our legislature to better serve the patients in need.