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Are patients at for-profit dialysis centers getting less transplants

I have just read a somewhat worrying (and slightly predictable) article.

A report this month says that in the US, patients attending for-profit dialysis centers are less likely to get a transplant than those at nonprofit centers! This is based on a study examining nearly 1,500,000 dialysis patients over a 17 year period. So it’s got a fair bit of data behind it. The link at the start of the paragraph is to the abstract (summary) of the research, but there is a bit more detail in the Reuters news report.

A transplant in the long run is cheaper than receiving dialysis for life, but according to one of the authors, Rachel Patzer from Emory University School of Medicine, “The current system has no financial incentive for dialysis providers to educate, to spend time with and to refer patients for transplant.”

Patients at for-profit facilities were 64% less likely to get on a transplant waiting list, 56% less likely to get a transplant from a deceased donor and 48% less likely to receive a kidney transplant from a living donor.

So if you are on dialysis at a for-profit treatment center, ASK about transplant options, don’t just sit there assuming that dialysis is your only option.