Feds Investigating Unnecessary Vascular Access Procedures On Dialysis Patients




DaVita Healthcare Partners, Inc. is one of the largest Dialysis Organizations in the United States and is a top performer. Of the 586 top performing five-star Dialysis Facilities, DaVita owned 202 centers while only having 38 low performing (one-star) centers. However, Denver Business Journal, reported that DaVita is again at the center of a major Federal Investigation which is suggesting that a DaVita owned company, Lifeline Vascular Access, "may have performed medically unnecessary procedures," on Dialysis patients' AV Fistulas.

A very serious claim, the U.S. Department of Justice suspects that Angiograms (an X-ray test that uses a special dye and camera to take pictures of the blood flow in the AV Fistula) were unnecessarily performed on at least 10 Chronic Kidney Disease patients.  DaVita said, “The company cannot predict, however, when this investigation will be resolved, its eventual outcome or scope, or its potential impact on the company.”

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Physicians often use this test to study narrow, blocked, enlarged, or malformed arteries or veins in many parts of your body, especially the AV Fistula when it relates to Chronic Kidney Disease patients who are conducting or set to begin Dialysis Treatments. Although an Angiogram is a minor procedure, it can cause complications such as bleeding or bruising at the site of the incision, infection at the incision site, and a mild to moderate allergic reaction to the contrast dye. More serious results are rare and include: Injury to the catheterized artery, irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias), a tear in the artery, and excessive bleeding.

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For the Dialysis patient population, their access is literally their lifeline as it is the sole means by which their essential Dialysis treatments are administered. Therefore, Angiograms are great to prevent prolonged blockages and closures when administered appropriately. While the investigation is at the early stages, the patients in question may have just been victims to over-caution. 

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Yet, patients should remain very aware of their care and make sure all procedures, no matter how minor they may appear, make sense for them given their personal circumstances. This can be done with a second opinion as well as understanding the specifics as it relates to their health challenges and working with their Healthcare Team to identify common sense options with which they feel comfortable. 

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The Large Dialysis Organization, DaVita, has noted that, "Patients who actively participate in their medical care usually come out ahead when it comes to feeling their best." Clearly, Dialysis Clinic Management and your Healthcare Team would welcome your input, questions and direct involvement in your personal care.

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