Improving the Lives of Medicare Patients with Kidney Disease Now

DaVita Integrated Kidney Care (DaVita IKC)—along with nearly 1,000 kidney doctors, transplant providers, hospice providers and advanced care practitioners—today announced the launch of 11 value-based care programs across the U.S., which are expected to reach an estimated 25,000 kidney patients. The goals of the programs are to help slow the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and help more patients with kidney failure access kidney transplants and dialysis in their homes.     

These programs are part of the government’s new voluntary Kidney Care Choices (KCC) model—a value-based care demonstration that began on Jan. 1, 2022, and will run for five performance years. DaVita IKC and its partners are participating in the Comprehensive Kidney Care Contracting (CKCC) option within KCC.

Similar to the government’s past value-based care demonstrations, CKCC allows dialysis centers, nephrologists and other health care providers to form kidney-focused accountable care organizations to manage care for Medicare patients. What makes the CKCC demonstration unique is that it boosts financial incentives to manage care for Medicare patients with CKD stages 4 and 5, to delay the onset of dialysis and to incentivize kidney transplantation.

CKD affects approximately 1 in 7 (37 million) U.S. adults. Unfortunately, most people with CKD don’t know their kidney function is declining. Currently, an estimated 50% of people diagnosed with kidney failure “crash” into dialysis—starting treatment without warning in an emergency situation.[2] Crashing not only causes physical and emotional stress for patients but also it costs, on average, an additional $53,000 per patient in the first year of dialysis treatment.

Other, similar value-based care programs have worked particularly well in high-need, high-cost patient populations, such as those with CKD and end stage kidney disease (ESKD). Such programs empower patients, physicians and care teams to help delay CKD progression by better managing risk factors like diabetes and hypertension—the two leading causes of ESKD.

For patients in the CKCC program, DaVita IKC and its partners are focused on better coordinating their kidney and non-kidney care needs, as well as improving interventions to help keep them healthy and out of the hospital. In fact, reducing hospitalizations not only gives these patients more moments at home doing what they love but also it can lower the total cost of care—a hallmark of any successful value-based care program.

Because these programs will reach a diverse population of Medicare patients in multiple urban geographies, DaVita IKC also sees an opportunity to continue helping generate greater health equity within transplantation and kidney care more broadly.

With the launch of its CKCC programs, DaVita IKC expects to more than double the number of patients receiving integrated kidney care in the first performance year alone. In addition to its numerous value-based care programs with health plans across the U.S., this helps advance DaVita IKC’s goal of delivering the benefits of integrated kidney care to all patients.

DaVita’s participation in value-based care programs underscores its overall commitment to unify and actively improve the experience and care at every stage and setting along a patient’s kidney care journey. Currently, DaVita manages patients from CKD to ESKD through transplantation, and does so regardless of whether a patient dialyzes at home, in the hospital or in one of its outpatient centers.

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