The Texas Renal Coalition (TRC) was organized in Austin in January, 1995, as a response to the needs of several affiliates of the National Kidney Foundation to advocate funding for the Bureau of Kidney Health Care. The early coalition had a fairly simple mission. Representatives from the five NKF affiliates met during legislative sessions to inform the legislature about the needs of patients with kidney disease. During the 1997 session, another element was added. Kidney Day at the Capitol became an event to draw public attention to the problems of kidney disease as well as inform the legislature of the public policy needs of those patients affected. Kidney Day at the Capitol has been held during each legislative session since, drawing as many as 350 or more patients and advocates who attend resolutions read in both the House and Senate.
The TRC is a volunteer health organization serving persons affected by urinary tract and kidney disease in Texas. At this time, The TRC has no staff and no corporate office, and 100% of funds go to educational programs and the administration of the board of directors. In August of 2000 the TRC became a free-standing corporation by receiving the 501(c)3 tax-exempt status from the IRS and a certificate of incorporation from the Texas Secretary of State.
In identifying the role that the Coalition should play in healthcare, patient issues, and legislative affairs, the board of directors identified more than 20 institutions, agencies, and associations involved in kidney disease or organ transplants. This does not include the more than 300 dialysis centers across the state. The directors interviewed administrators, patients, physicians, nurses and social workers in order to gain an understanding of the scope of their mission.
Other issues demonstrate the need for a coordinated effort: organ availability; misinterpretation of information coming from different areas of the state; policies and contracts that are in conflict; transportation in remote areas; illegal aliens who need transplants or treatment; lack of good epidemiological surveys related to kidney disease; lack of projected data on impact of related diseases such as diabetes. While the Texas Department of State Health Services undertakes much of the coordination of the programs affected by these issues, it does not have the capability to funnel information to where it might do the most good, i.e., the legislature. This is why an independent organization such as the Coalition will have a large role to play.
Vincent Tjia, MD, Chief Medical Officer
Rita Littlefield, President
Roberta (Bobbi) Wagner, Vice President
Abby Ruiz, Secretary
Andrea Ralls, Treasurer
Malinda Buentello, San Antonio
Scott Dickison, Georgetown
Amie Duemer, Lubbock
Florence Hartsfield, San Antonio
Rita Littlefield, Austin
Andrea Ralls, Austin
Abby Ruiz, Austin
Vincent Tjia, MD, Lakeway
Lacye Trevino, Fort Worth
Sam Trevino, Fort Worth
Roberta (Bobbi) Wager, Boerne