Kidney disease is a silent killer, but with early detection and treatment, kidney failure can be prevented and lives can be saved. In 2020, the National Kidney Medicine Program for the Veterans Health Administration issued a national strategic plan to prevent kidney failure in Veterans by using a race-free kidney health screening test and best treatment practices.
Two screening tests are used to determine kidney health. One is a simple urine test and the other a blood test. The blood test is used to calculate how well the kidneys are cleaning or filtering waste products from the blood and is called the “eGFR,” short for estimated glomerular filtration rate.
Past math formulas to calculate eGFR from blood tests required adjustment for race, but today’s broadened understanding of race suggests benefits to using a race-free math formula instead.
All VA laboratories now use race-free formula
In early 2021, the VA Kidney Medicine Program and the Pathology & Laboratory Program established the plan for all VA laboratories to use the race-free eGFR formula.
The formula was developed by a panel of experts assembled by the American Society of Nephrology and the National Kidney Foundation, and was published in late 2021.
The requirement for all VA locations to be using the VA approved 2021 race-free eGFR formula by April 1, 2022, is in keeping with the VA Kidney Medicine Program’s national strategic plan to improve the kidney health of all Veterans.
As the largest integrated national provider of kidney care in the United States, VA is also leading the way in meeting the goal of the Executive Order “Advancing American Kidney Health” (AAKH).