- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for AG Healey Urges Removal of Race From Controversial Kidney Function Test
BOSTON — Following a recent recommendation by a task force formed by the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) and American Society of Nephrology (ASN), Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is urging the immediate removal of race from the formulas that health care providers use to estimate kidney function. These formulas often determine whether a patient will be referred to a kidney specialist, waitlisted for a transplant, or receive other important health care services. For more than 20 years, the formulas have included a race adjustment that has made Black patients’ kidneys look healthier. The equations have been criticized for limiting access to essential care for patients of color.
“I applaud the work of this task force and urge all health care providers, electronic health record vendors, and other stakeholders to implement their recommendation immediately,” said AG Healey. “Some providers have already eliminated race from their kidney function calculations and the rest should follow suit. Racial stereotypes have no place in our society, including in medicine, and ensuring equitable access to health care is a matter of civil rights. Beyond this kidney test, we need to take a hard look at other clinical tools that take patient race into account, as some may inappropriately steer patients of color away from needed care. We need the medical community to work together to quickly identify these tools, develop and vet appropriate alternatives, and ensure that no patient faces discrimination because of structural racism.”
The NKF-ASN task force unanimously agreed that race should be immediately removed from kidney function equations. It also recommended that doctors use other approaches to estimate kidney function without considering race and conduct further research to develop new estimation tools.