Questions for Kent Thiry

 

1) The U.S.A has had the highest kidney dialysis mortality rate in the industrialized world! It looks to us DaVita was a large part of it. Can you explain why this is?

 

2) A poorer country, Italy, has a lower kidney dialysis mortality rate than the U.S. (10% vs our closer to 20%) and spends one third less. Can you explain this?

 

3) A non-profit in the U.S., DCI, appears to have a much lower kidney dialysis mortality rate than both the large for-profits: DaVita and Fresenius. Can you explain why this is?

 

4) Why do some call our dialysis treatments here short and violent?

 

5) DaVita serves a large portion of the minority population. We recall the Afro-American dialysis population has a lower mortality rate than the Caucasian dialysis population. Shouldn’t this cause DaVita’s mortality rate to be better than DCI’s? Why the discrepancy?

 

6) When DaVita recently settled a $55 million Judgment for misusing the drug epogen, DaVita stated it was the physicians prescribing the drug. Why did for-profit physicians, like DaVita’s, find it necessary to prescribe sometimes three times what the non-profit physicians were prescribing? (Epogen in high doses has been linked to increased risk for death, strokes, and heart attacks in kidney dialysis patients)

 

7) What are DaVita’s best practices and what are they like at DCI and other countries?

 

8) Why does DaVita strive for a high patient/staff ratio when the state of Vermont and many say a ratio of 9 patients to 3 techs and one nurse would avoid problems when things go wrong?

 

9) Why does DaVita continue the dangerous practice of reuse when there are so many studies saying this is a dangerous practice? There are counter-studies (unreliable?), but the bottom line seems to be people like Betty Allen might be alive today if the practice of reuse was abandoned.

 

10) We would like to know why patients come into dialysis with kidney disease, yet so many pass away with heart disease?

 

11) From ‘91 to ‘01 the USRDS shows the number of patients doubling, costs tripled, yet the death rate was up 123%. We were wondering where the money went? - looks like it didn’t go to patient care!

 

12) And are large, rich, for-profit dialysis companies such as DaVita and Fresenius still rationing gauze? Isn’t that like rationing bullets in a war?