About 200 Utahns suffering from kidney ailments gathered Sunday in Salt Lake for the first conference sponsored by the National Kidney Foundation of Utah.

The conference focused on transplantation issues, treatment alternatives for kidney patients and new coverage available from Medicare and insurance agencies.The session also gave those attending a chance to ask questions of a panel consisting of Dr. Martin Gregory, medical director of the Kolff Dialysis Center at the University of Utah School of Medicine; Dr. John M. Holman, assistant professor of surgery at the U. medical school; and Geri McGeehan, director of medicare, Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Questions centered on the lack of public transportation for those requiring thrice weekly dialysis treatment, the lack of insurance benefits to aid the purchase of non-prescription medications needed to replace minerals and vitamins stripped from the body system by the dialysis treatment and ways dialysis patients can make these issue more public.

Greg Done, chairman of the Patient Services Committee and clinical coordinator for pediatric dialysis at the University Medical Center, said that is one role the committee hopes to play. He said it is important for kidney patients to make the committee aware of concerns so that committee members can study ways to present those concerns the to various public bodies that have control and responsibility.

Conference participants were asked to fill out a questionaire that will provide written documentation of those concerns and that will also be used in preparing the foundation's next conference scheduled for next year.