Database Shows How Likely It Is You Will Die At A Dialysis Clinic

For the first time ever, patients can have access to previously secret government information about survival rates at specific dialysis clinics. ProPublica got the info through a Freedom of Information Act request and has put it together in an easily searchable database. This is important because some of these places, especially if they’re for-profit, have pretty bad track records at keeping their patients alive.

To use it, simply enter in your address or the address of the clinic you’re interested in checking out. The database will you show you data on the four closest facilities to that address. That info includes the deaths per 100 patients, patient death rate vs expected death rate, deaths during first year of treatment per 100 patient years, and first year death rate vs expected deathrate, for the years 2006-2009. In addition it shows data on hospital admissions, infections, transplants and more.

Check out the database here.

Dialysis Facility Tracker [ProPublica]
Dialysis Data, Once Confidential, Shines Light on Clinic Disparities [ProPublica]

PREVIOUSLY
For-Profit Dialysis Centers Have Higher Mortality Rates, Up To 24%
Why Does US Have Worst Fatality Rate From Kidney Dialysis?

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Blueskylaw says:

    “some of these places, especially if they’re for-profit, have pretty bad track records at keeping their patients alive”

    You would think that a for profit would have an extra incentive to keep their patients alive.
    Alas, I was wrong.

    • LadyTL says:

      Since they are not penalized when things go wrong there is only an incentive to rotate as many people as possible through there with the least amount of staff.

  2. marc6065 says:

    Yeah, but you have to realize that most people that are at these places are in bad shape to begin with. Most people do not go to a dialysis center for a few weeks and then get better and don’t come back. In my business I call on some centers and it seems the majority of patients (at least 75%) are diabetics that are in the last stages of their disease process. Most are missing one or two limbs due to amputation and their overall health is not in very good condition. They have weakend cardiac health and their immune systems are at best poor if not in failing condition. For the majority of patients dialysis is basically end of life care to take care of a failing kidney condition that will not get better. Yes some are there till they can get a transplant but not the majority of them. Now this is just my opinion and I am in no way a health care proffesional, this is just from personal observation and discussion with the nurse managers.

    • MrEvil says:

      I repaired computers at the Fresenius facilities in the Texas Panhandle. Most of the patients I’d see in the treatment center or in the waiting area seemed to me to be doing alot better than one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.

      You sure live a hell of a lot longer with Dialysis than you would without it.

  3. qwickone says:

    High death rates are not always a bad thing. There are lots of things that drive up death rates that some consider good things like, willingness to try experimental treatments, willingness to work with patients that are sicker, etc. I think this report is awesome, but make sure you dig deeper before choosing or eliminating options.

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      “High death rates are not always a bad thing.”

      Why does my mind boggle when I read that sentence?

  4. Hi_Hello says:

    neat…but how accurate are the data?? Non profit get funded by the city/state/fed government. Each of them require different reports and number to be met in order to maintain the funds. How do we know they aren’t fudging the numbers? How do we know the data is being collected properly by the non profit place?

    • Reading_Comprehension says:

      because they’re doing it for the common good, if you can’t trust that you may as well give up on believing in anything

      • Hi_Hello says:

        I trust the non-profit organizations. Most of them do what they do because they want to help.

        The problem is the funds have restrictions or requirements on them. The funders need to make sure they get what they pay for and the organization to do what they need to do so the numbers look right.

        I”m not say their quality of work is questionable, just questioning the data.

    • qwickone says:

      I would hope that the NFP hospitals get audited and that their audits are reviewed before funding is approved. I don’t know if that happens, but it’s reasonable to assume someone is checking that they dont fudge their numbers.

      • Hi_Hello says:

        I’ve work with data with non-profit before. The dead rate is base Mortality
        Deaths per 100 patient . Who to say, If a eligible patient walks into the hospital as ask some to use the bathroom that they don’t get counted?

        The audits can’t go through every patients. They randomly pick a handful of patients and make sure the data is right.

  5. Hoss says:

    Geez, all the love for the Double Down and everything bacon and still some attention to health aspects.

  6. Pooterfish says:

    By encouraging people to make comparisons of facilities without taking into account differences in types and degrees of illness or of patient’s health, this is almost worthless and potentially very misleading.

    • Clearly says:

      Pooterfish : yep, quite right.

      The title of the article encourages a misleading view of this data. The data does not show “how likely it is that YOU will die at a dialysis clinic”.

      What it does show is the mortality rate at given clinics. We know little about the patient profile at the clinics and without that information, its misleading to suggest the data shows how likely it is for a given individual to die at the clinic. Additionally, we know nothing about the relative prices of the clinics; perhaps those that charge more have lower mortality rates ? Perhaps not.
      Further, what is the ‘expected rate’ ? Does the expected rate account for patient population profiles and pricing differences between clinics or are all clinics ‘expected’ to have the same rate ?

      For example : this data and misleading article title would lead folks seeking dialysis to choose the clinic with the lowest mortality rate per this database. This could be a very misguided choice. A clinic with an average mortality rate could have a patient provide of very elderly and poorly insured individuals who exhibit a long standing range of health complications. However, they may have first rate staff and treatment. So despite their first rate staff and treatment, their mortality rate is only ‘average’. This is because their patient profile is highly challenging. Someone seeking treatment might be well advised to go to this clinic despite its average mortality rate because the staff and treatments are first rate.

      Statistics, statistics and damn lies.

  7. MedicallyNeedy says:

    I would bet that the rate is higher at “for profit” facilities because they don’t promote transplants as aggressively as other facilities. It cost, as high as, $36,000.00 a week and they want to keep you alive as long as possible. My anti-rejection meds cost around $1,000 a month.

  8. jk87 says:

    Another caveat, one should look out for selection effects. Consider this scenario:

    You’re having chest pains. You know that nobody at your local college student health center has died but that plenty of people have died at that world-class medical facility in town. Do you go to the school nurse? No, because the selection of your treatment facility is not random. No seriously ill people go to the student health center, so nobody is likely to die despite treatment at student health. Seriously ill people go to the hospital, and while some people die there, your chances of dying at the hospital are less than that at the student health center.

    The database does a good job providing some conditional statistics, like “Percent of patients on transplant waitlist, 2006-2009″ and whether you were treated by a nephrologist prior to dialysis. You can’t just look at death rates though, since assignment of dialysis patients is not random.

  9. Jedana says:

    Also, some of the facts are misleading. I looked up the center my husband is with (we do Home Hemo, but he has to be “at a clinic” for his supplies) and it states a 40% mortality rate 2006-2009.
    The only problem with that? The clinic didn’t open until late 2009, and they only had 5 patients, 3 of whom are home patients until January 2010. And no one died.

    Not trusting this study at all.

  10. Jedana says:

    ..Also, some of the facts are misleading. I looked up the center my husband is with (we do Home Hemo, but he has to be “at a clinic” for his supplies) and it states a 40% mortality rate 2006-2009.
    The only problem with that? The clinic didn’t open until late 2009, and they only had 5 patients, 3 of whom are home patients until January 2010. And no one died.

    Not trusting this study at all..