Rating Dialysis Centers
Posted by: Barbara Bibel
Over 400,000 people in the United States rely on dialysis to cleanse their blood because their kidneys are failing. If you or someone you know is in this situation, you want to know that the facility used for dialysis is safe.
ProPublica, an independent non-profit that does investigative journalism "focusing on truly important stories with moral force," looked into dialysis centers and rated them on key clinical indicators. This dialysis facility tracker includes survival rates, incidence of infection, the number of patients who receive transplants or are placed on the waiting list, the number of hospitalizations or emergency room visits, care before dialysis, rates of anemia and waste clearance, the means of access (rates of catheters or fistulas), and outcome of the most recent inspection. Users may enter an address, zip code, or facility name to obtain the ratings. A bar graph at the left of the chart shows how well facilities did overall. Mousing over each category provides an explanation of the numbers. On the right of the home page, one finds a drawing that explains how dialysis works and stories of patients.
There is also feature article that looks at the dialysis industry. It notes that there is a huge profit to be made here and the United States has one of the highest per-patient costs as a well as one of the highest death rates in the world. This report is very useful. It is thought-provoking and it appears at a time when health care costs are under scrutiny.