The National Kidney Foundation, a major voluntary nonprofit health organization, is dedicated to preventing kidney and urinary tract diseases, improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by kidney disease and increasing the availability of all organs for transplantation. NKF of Florida is a vital resource for kidney patients and their families – helping them learn how to cope with the physical and psychosocial aspects of the disease and providing them with hope for the future. Our current patient services programs include:
Direct Aid – Through our Direct Aid Program, the National Kidney Foundation of Florida provided over $159,500 in direct financial aid to patients for groceries, gas, transportation, utilities, and rent in FY 2019. This aid was distributed to 1,336 individuals over the course of the year. Teams of social workers volunteer their time monthly to review applications received from around the State and distribute these funds. The NKFF staff and Board of Directors are dedicated to increasing the funds made available.
Hawthorne Fund – The National Kidney Foundation of Florida’s Hawthorne Fund is designed to assist kidney transplant recipients, who meet stated criteria, with the cost of their post-transplant medications, including immunosuppressant and prophylaxis drugs. Patients must be post kidney transplant, uninsured or underinsured, a Florida resident, and complete a Patient Assistance Fund application. This is a short-term, temporary help for the patient to access immunosuppressant and prophylaxis medication while they are seeking a longer-term solution. In fiscal year 2019, the NKFF distributed nearly $93,000 to over 90 individual patients for assistance.
Kidney Screenings –The Florida Kidney Screening Program provides free screenings for kidney disease, high blood pressure and diabetes for those most at-risk of developing kidney disease. The NKF of Florida has screened thousands of people with this program, making it a forerunner of early detection, diagnosis, and treatment referral for kidney disease. During the last fiscal year, the NKFF screened 283 participants, finding 21 abnormal results.
Health Fairs – In fiscal year 2019 staff and volunteers attended over 22 health fairs around the State with partners including Universal Studios, Central Florida Black Nurses Association, Broward County Department of Health, and Our Legacy. With over 70 educational brochures to choose from, the NKFF staff selects appropriate materials based on the community audience and
distributes this information and promotional items to the community. Topics often requested by attendees includes general information on kidney disease, dialysis, nutrition, organ donation/transplantation and more.
Patient Advocacy – The National Kidney Foundation of Florida is unique in that it has a full-time experienced Patient Advocate, Joe Karan. Joe is a prior in-center and home-hemo patient and is now a transplant recipient. He travels around the state offering programs designed to appeal to the specific audience. His recent presentations are to health care professionals, corporations, transplant centers, the NAACP and other organizations, college students, and the general public.
Mr. Karan travels State-wide visiting dialysis patients to discuss their medical, financial, and emotional issues. He is also available 7 days a week by phone or email to patients or the general public. He currently and has for the last 9 years sat on several different Councils including; Beneficiary Advisory Council (CMS), NEPOP (review of all CMS collateral material) and Network 7. He was selected to join three CMS Technical Expert Programs. In addition, he also served as Vice Chair of the National Patient Advisory Committee, Network 7 board of the Kidney Networks, Committee for the Grievance and Patient Depression Toolkits, Pain Management Committee and Blood Infection Committee.
Mr. Karan is often asked to speak around the state and country and is requested by various other NKF offices across the country to assist their patients in need.
Renal Professionals Forum – The National Kidney Foundation of Florida holds an annual two-day education seminar designed to bring up-to-date renal-specific information to nurses, social workers, technicians, and dieticians who care for kidney patients. This year’s 16th Annual RPF will be held October 10th and 11th at a new location on Hutchinson Island. At last year’s conference, 160 attendees were able to receive 14 continuing education credits.
The Transplant Games of America – The National Kidney Foundation of Florida proudly supports the members of Team Florida in the Donate Life Transplant Games of America. The Transplant Games of America was held August 2-7, 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Last year’s games brought more than 3,500 total recipients, living donors, donor families, and supporters to Salt Lake City. In 2018 team Florida sent 19 athletes and brought home 45medals in sports such as swimming, track and field, darts, bowling, trivia, and golf.
Florida Kidney Day – Every year the NKFF joins the Florida Renal Coalition to particpiate in Florida Kidney Day, an advocacy day in Tallahassee. This is an opportunity to speak to Florida legislators and the Agency for Healthcare Administration about CKD; provide literature; and advocate for dialysis patients, transplant patients, and living kidney donors. The NKFF attended Kidney Day in February and conducted a KEEP screening in the rotunda of the capital building, screening over 40 individuals including legislatures.