The largely consolidated dialysis sector has been quiet on the M&A front of late, but the transition to value-based payment models could be renewing the drive for scale.
Many kidney-failure patients continue to receive critical dialysis treatments through catheters, a vein access method that is widely known to increase the risk of serious infections, blood clots and even death.
Before a controversial five-star rating system for dialysis facilities was released this year, kidney-care groups seemed unified in their opposition to the system. DaVita was against it until the ratings put the company's facilities in a positive light.
Heritage Provider Network and German kidney-care provider Fresenius Medical Care have announced that they will team up in coordinated-care networks throughout the U.S.
Medicare's new five-star quality-rating system for dialysis facilities suggests significant disparities between the care provided by the nation's largest kidney-care companies. Far fewer Fresenius Medical Care facilities earned five- and four-star ratings than those of competitor DaVita Kidney Care.
The $25 billion dialysis industry faces transformation as it moves from offering a profitable niche service to what insurers see as a cost center under the population health-management approach.
Hospital groups and dialysis and home care providers are warning that a five-star rating system the CMS plans to apply to them as early as this fall is more likely to confuse consumers than help them meaningfully compare providers' quality and safety.
Germany's Fresenius Medical Care agreed to buy a majority stake in Tacoma, Wash.-based Sound Inpatient Physicians for about $600 million, part of a drive to offer additional services linked to its core business of kidney dialysis.
Federal health regulators are allowing a U.S. medical supply company to import saline solution from its Spanish plant to address a national shortage of the hospital staple.
Dialysis providers welcomed a 2014 reprieve in Medicare payment cuts for the treatment of end-stage renal disease and signaled they'll keep up their efforts to change the underlying policy.
In what is likely to be a relief to dialysis providers, the CMS decided to phase in the controversial payment cut to dialysis providers over a three- to four-year period.
U.S. Renal Care has completed its acquisition of Ambulatory Services of America after first announcing in June the planned merger of the dialysis companies.