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Dialysis

High Costs and Hidden Perils of a Treatment Guaranteed to All

Nearly 40 years after Congress created a unique entitlement for patients with kidney failure, U.S. death rates and per-patient costs are among the world's highest while the biggest for-profit providers flourish.

How are the Dialysis Centers Near You?

A roundup of local coverage using data from our updated Dialysis Facility Tracker.

Updated: Dialysis Facility Tracker

ProPublica obtained data about the performance of more than 5,000 U.S. dialysis clinics. Our Dialysis Facility Tracker allows patients to compare clinics on such measures as patient survival, infection control, hospitalization rates and transplant rates.

Federal Grand Jury Probes Major Dialysis Provider

DaVita, the country’s second-largest dialysis provider, announced in a financial filing that a U.S. Attorney’s Office investigation into the company’s business practices is “preliminary.”

Dialysis: The Story So Far

Feds to Follow ProPublica, Release Dialysis Clinic Data

Officials with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services told Sen. Grassley they are now providing Dialysis Facility Reports, statistical compilations on each of the nation's 5,000-plus dialysis clinics, to anyone upon request and are trying to add the reports to Medicare’s Dialysis Facility Compare website.

Led by California, Inspection Backlogs Weaken Dialysis Oversight

An investigation by ProPublica found that some states are failing to meet inspection targets for the nation’s more than 5,000 dialysis clinics. Patient advocates say the backlog increases risks for patients in a system that has one of the industrialized world’s highest mortality rates.

Dialysis Data, Once Confidential, Shines Light on Clinic Disparities

ProPublica obtained data about the performance of more than 5,000 U.S. dialysis clinics. ProPublica’s Dialysis Facility Tracker allows patients to compare clinics on such measures as patient survival, infection control, hospitalization rates and transplant rates.

Sen. Grassley Demands Information on Dialysis Clinic Conditions

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, sent a letter Tuesday to Dr. Donald Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, expressing concern about clinic conditions and oversight described in a report published by ProPublica and the Atlantic Monthly in November.

Life and Death Choices as South Africans Ration Dialysis Care

In the United States, patients with kidney failure have access to life-saving dialysis treatments paid for by Medicare. But in less-affluent countries like South Africa, medical professionals rely on rationing. At Tygerberg Academic Hospital near Cape Town, a jury of doctors is making life-and-death choices based not only on a patient's medical condition but social factors such as living conditions and the patient's support network.

New Study Shows Higher Mortality Risk at For-Profit Dialysis Chains

A new study shows that patients treated at dialysis clinics run by the largest U.S. for-profit chains have a higher risk of death than patients treated by the biggest nonprofit chain.

When Needles Dislodge, Dialysis Can Turn Deadly

Medicare rules do not require dialysis clinics to tell outside authorities about lapses in patient safety, even if they result in injuries or deaths. One model: The Department of Veterans Affairs, which has adopted mandatory reporting of accidents and near-misses to save lives.

Inform Our Investigations

In Dialysis, Life-Saving Care at Great Risk and Cost

Every year, more than 100,000 Americans start dialysis. One in four of them will die within 12 months -- a fatality rate that is one of the worst in the industrialized world. And dialysis arguably costs more here than anywhere else. Although taxpayers cover most of the bill, the government has kept confidential clinic data that could help patients make better decisions. How did our first foray into near-universal coverage, begun four decades ago with such great hope, turn out this way? And what lessons does it hold for the future of health care reform?

Inside a Dialysis Treatment

Read the Leaked P.R. Plan to Spin Our Dialysis Investigation

The umbrella group Kidney Care Partners (KCP), an advocacy and lobbying organization for dialysis providers, patient groups, drug companies and others, drew up a plan to respond to our investigation into dialysis care.

Editor's Note: How We Got the Government's Secret Dialysis Data

After two years of delays, the government recently fulfilled ProPublica's request for data that track whether death, hospitalization and infection rates at dialysis clinics are better or worse than expected.

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