Health and Human Services Secretary Visits Baxter Bloomington

(BLOOMINGTON) – Health and Human Secretary Alex Azar and Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Joe Grogan visited Baxter Facilities in Bloomington on Friday afternoon.

They toured the facilities and met with many of the Baxter Employees, who also joined them in an afternoon press conference Baxter Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jose (Joe) E. Almeida signed the Pledge to America Workers, joining over 300 companies and organizations who have pledged more than 12 million workforce education and training opportunities for American workers.

President and CEO of Baxter International Jose ( Joe) Almeida is joined by Health Human Services Director Alex Azar and Assistant to the President and Director of White House Domestic Policy Director Joe Grogan

Baxter recently announced $500 million in potential investments in new United States facilities, as well as existing sites that make and distribute products for peritoneal dialysis (PD), supporting the recently announced Trump administration initiatives to advance American Kidney Health.

During the press conference, one of Baxter’s employees discussed his Stage 2 kidney failure and how he used Baxter’s supplies and equipment to overcome kidney failure, a kidney transplant and how he is now a survivor.

Bruce Pleskow, who travels 3-4 weeks a month, remained working during his dialysis and traveled all over the United States. He never missed days of work while on dialysis. And by staying on dialysis this kept him healthy for the transplant.

Pleskow has been married for over 40 years and is now more than three years post-transplant. Currently, there are over 100,000 end stage kidney failure patients waiting on transplants.

The executive order from the Trump Administration to improve the lives of Americans suffering from kidney disease, and expand options for American Patients, and reduce Health Care costs.

The initiatives have three goals: fewer patients developing kidney failure, fewer Americans receiving dialysis in dialysis centers, and more kidneys available for transplant.

Across America, over 37 million patients suffer from chronic kidney disease, and more than 726,000 have an end-stage renal disease ( ESRD). Nearly 100,000 Americans are waiting on the list to receive a kidney transplant, and kidney disease ranks as the ninth leading cause of death in America.

Approximately twenty percent of dollars in traditional Medicare – $114 billion a year – is spent on American Kidney Disease. Yet of more than 100,000 American who begin dialysis to treat end-stage renal disease each year, one in five will die within a year. HHS has laid out three goals for improving kidney health.

  1. Reducing the number of Americans developing end-stage renal disease by 25 percent by 2030.
  2. Having 80 percent of new ESRD patients in 2025 either receiving dialysis at home or receiving dialysis at home or receiving a transplant.
  3. Doubling the number of kidneys available for transplant by 2030.

The second thing that brought the HHS Alex Azar and Domestic Policy Council Jeff Grogan to Bloomington was Baxter’s signing the Pledge to America Workers.

Baxter employees greet HHS Secretary Alex Azar, Domestic Policy Council Joe Grogan and CEO Jose (Joe) Almeida

President’s Trump agenda is driving an economic resurgence that is creating more and more opportunities for American Workers.

  • More than 5.3 million jobs were created between President’s Trump’s election and his second State of the Union Address alone.
  • June 2019 marked the 16th consecutive month that America’s unemployment rate remained at 4 percent or below.
  • In early 2019, wage growth for U.S. workers hit its fastest pace in a decade.

On July 19th, 2018, President Trump signed an Executive Order establishing the National Council for the American Worker. Comprised of senior Administration officials, the National Council for the American Worker is charged with developing a National Strategy for training and retraining the workers needed across high-demand industries.

Indiana Governor Holcomb is among those a part of the American Worker Advisory Board.

As part of the National Council for American Worker, the Trump Administration is asking companies and trade groups throughout the country to sign the Pledge to American Workers – committing to expand programs that educate, train, and reskill American workers from high school age to near retirement.

Baxter CEO signs the Pledge to America’s Workers

Joined by Baxter employees, Chief Executive Officer of Baxter Joe Almedia signed that pledge. Baxter International Inc. is a Fortune 500 American Health Care company with headquarters in Deerfield, Illinois.

In 2017, sales of $10.6 billion, across two businesses: BioScience and Medical Products. Baxter employees over 48,000 employees.

The Bloomington Facility has over 600 employees and operates out of 600,000 square feet of updated space, on Bloomington’s West Side.