At the beginning of this decade, Healthy People 2010 issued a series of objectives to "reduce the incidence, morbidity, mortality and health care costs of chronic kidney disease." A necessary feature of any program to reduce the burden of kidney disease in the US population must include mechanisms to screen populations at risk and institute early the aspects of management, such as control of blood pressure, management of diabetes, and, in patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD), preparation for dialysis therapy and proper vascular access management, that can retard CKD progression and improve long-term outcome. The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans Health Administration is a broad-based national health care system that is almost uniquely situated to address these issues and has developed a number of effective approaches using evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, performance measures, innovative use of a robust electronic medical record system, and system oversight during the past decade. In this report, we describe the application of this systems approach to the prevention of CKD in veterans through the treatment of risk factors, identification of CKD in veterans, and oversight of predialysis and dialysis care. The lessons learned and applicability to the private sector are discussed.