Expert: Dialysis

DaVita Dialysis

DAVITA Our Mission:

To be the Provider, Partner and Employer of Choice

Davita provides dialysis services for those persons diagnosed with chronic kidney failure, as well as acute inpatient dialysis in hospitals. Davita has over 1255 Outpatient Dialysis Centers located in 41 states and serves over 100,000 patients. This makes us the largest independent provider of dialysis services in the United States. Though we're proud of this standing, we have set our sights on a higher goal. We want to be the greatest dialysis company the world has ever seen. And we're accomplishing this through a shared commitment to our patient outcomes, mission and values. The name DaVita is an adaptation of a phase meaning "He/she gives life." Everyday, in all of our clinics, we believe our name reflects our purpose.
Davita currently has Dialysis Centers located in Boise, Nampa, Meridian, Twin Falls, Pocatello Idaho, and Ontario Oregon. Please visit our web site for more information on treatment options, and locations of Dialysis Centers.

Approximately 20 million Americans have Kidney Disease

More men than women, more elderly than young, and more African Americans and Hispanics than Caucsians develop chronic kidney disease. The number of people diagnosed with kidney failure has doubled each decade for the last 2 decades and will likely continue to do so.

When kidney disease progresses and 85% of kidney function is lost, it is known as end stage renal disease (ESRD). In these patients, the kidneys are no longer removing waste products of metabolism and excess fluids, balancing electrolytes, or regulating hormones. When patients reach ESRD they must receive replacement therapy either in the form of dialysis or kidney transplant in order to survive.

What is dialysis?

Dialysis is a treatment that removes wastes and excess fluid from your blood.

If I have kidney disease, will I need dialysis?

In the early stages of chronic kidney disease, you do not need dialysis. These stages can last for many years. But if your kidneys fail, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to keep you alive.

When should I start dialysis?

National Kidney Foundation guidelines recommend you start dialysis when your kidney function drops to 15% or less-or if you have severe symptoms caused by your kidney disease, such as: shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting. Your doctor will help you decide when to start dialysis, based on results of lab tests that measure how much kidney function you have left and on your symptoms. If you are not having symptoms, you may be able to wait a bit longer. However, some doctors believe that starting dialysis as soon as Medicare or insurance covers it is wise, since it can take a long time to recover if you let yourself get very ill. Since chronic kidney failure often happens slowly, sometimes people do not even know how bad they feel, until they start dialysis and begin to feel much better.

It is important to start getting ready for dialysis or a transplant well in advance-when your kidney disease reaches Stage 4 (severe, with glomerular filtration rate, or GFR, less than 30 mL/min). Learning about the types of dialysis and transplant options will help you make a choice that is best for you. Any type of dialysis will require surgery-usually outpatient-to allow access for your treatments, and this should be done well in advance to allow time for healing.

Who pays for dialysis?

Dialysis is paid for with your health insurance and Medicare (even if you are under age 65). If you have an employer group health plan, it will pay first for 30-33 months, and Medicare will be secondary (paying some or all of the balance your insurance doesn't cover). After 30-33 months, Medicare pays first and your health plan is secondary. Ask your dialysis or transplant center to help you figure out what your insurance will pay and how much you will be expected to pay out-of-pocket. You can also call DaVita Guest Services at 1-800-244-0680 from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PST).

Once I am on dialysis, will my kidneys get better?

The chances that your kidneys will get better depend on what caused your kidney failure. Kidney failure is divided into two general categories, acute and chronic. Acute (or sudden) kidney failure is often temporary. In chronic kidney failure, the kidneys normally do not heal.

In acute kidney failure, when kidneys stop functioning due to a sudden stress, kidney function may recover. But when the damage to your kidneys has been continuous and progressive over a number of years, as it is in chronic kidney disease (CKD), then the kidneys usually do not get better. When CKD has progressed to end stage renal disease (ESRD), it is considered irreversible.

If you have acute kidney failure, you may need dialysis for only a few days or weeks while your kidneys recover. If your kidneys are too badly damaged to recover their function, then you will need long-term dialysis or a kidney transplant to live.