FTC Cracks Down on DaVita’s Market Power

The Federal Trade Commission has the dialysis industry in its crosshairs after it finalized restrictions on DaVita’s latest deal in Utah. The FTC’s agreement allows DaVita to purchase 18 dialysis clinics owned by University of Utah Health, but three acquired clinics in the Provo, Utah area must be divested. DaVita also can’t buy another clinic in Utah for 10 years unless it gets prior FTC approval, nor can it prevent employees at the acquired clinics from jumping to jobs at competing dialysis clinics.

Dialyze Direct Acquires Renew Dialysis from Saber Healthcare

Dialyze Direct, the nation’s leading provider of home hemodialysis services in skilled nursing facilities (SNF), announced today that it has acquired Renew Dialysis, a regional provider of on-site dialysis services in SNFs with eight locations in Ohio and one in Virginia. Renew Dialysis was co-founded by Cleveland-based Saber Healthcare Group, which is affiliated with more than 120 skilled nursing and assisted living facilities in seven states, and Nola McMullen, who serves as Renew’s Chief Operating Officer, to improve SNF patients’ well-being and comfort with the experience of on-site dialysis.

Florida Kidney Physicians, Global Nephrology Solutions Welcome Gulf Coast Kidney Associates

Founding Global Nephrology Solutions (GNS) member-practice Florida Kidney Physicians (FKP) recently announced its partnership with Gulf Coast Kidney Associates (GCKA). The partnership with GCKA firmly solidifies FKP’s reputation as Florida’s leading nephrology practice with more than 100 providers caring for patients at over 40 locations throughout the state.

Global Nephrology Solutions Expands Access to Value-Based Kidney Care Continuum with Acquisition of Ambulatory Surgery Centers

Global Vascular Solutions (“GVS”), an owner and operator of outpatient surgery centers for end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients, recently launched with the acquisition of three ambulatory surgery centers in the Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona markets. GVS is a division of Global Nephrology Solutions (“GNS”), one of the largest physician-led and physician-owned kidney care platforms in the United States. GVS acquired the three centers located in Peoria, Tempe, and Tucson from Arizona-based SKI Vascular Center, a GNS partner practice. The acquisition brings nearly 50 employees to GVS and serves more than 2,500 patients annually.

Medicare Drops ESRD Rule with Equity in Mind

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services unveiled a final rule for next year’s end-stage renal disease payments on Friday that includes a small increase for freestanding and hospital-based dialysis. The rule also aims to promote at-home dialysis services and transplant care for people from underserved communities, which marks the agency’s first effort to tackle health disparities for Medicare enrollees with kidney failure in the decade since Congress established the prospective payment system for ESRD providers. CMS published the proposed rule for ESRD payments in July.

Global Nephrology Solutions Brings Its Unique Care Delivery Platform to Both Michigan and Rhode Island

Global Nephrology Solutions (“GNS”), a leading physician-owned, technology-enabled kidney care platform, recently announced new partnerships with leading nephrology practices in two new states — Lake Michigan Nephrology (“LMN”) and Nephrology Associates (“NA”) of Providence, R.I. With these newly established partnerships, GNS brings its physician-led, value-based renal care platform to both Michigan and Rhode Island for the first time, further expanding its footprint to 12 states in the country and more than 400 providers. Lake Michigan Nephrology’s six providers have provided comprehensive and personalized care for patients with kidney disease and high blood pressure for more than 30 years. With 13 locations throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts, Nephrology Associates’ 12 providers care for approximately 5,000 patients.

Care for Kidney Disease Plummeted in the Pandemic

The number of patient visits for chronic kidney care plummeted by more than 26% in the early months of the pandemic, according to new data from the nation’s largest insurer, UnitedHealth Group. UnitedHealth’s study looked at changes in in-person visits, as well as lab work and medication utilization, between March 1 and June 30, 2020. Researchers said they would have expected to see 2.74 million in-person visits in the study period. Instead, they saw a total of only about 1.56 million in-person visits, representing a 40% drop.

Global Nephrology Solutions Continues Rapid Expansion

Global Nephrology Solutions (“GNS”), one of the largest physician-led and physician-owned kidney care platforms in the United States, announced the addition of Melbourne-based Space Coast Nephrology Associates, PLLC (SCNA) to their growing network. As part of this new partnership, SCNA will join Florida Kidney Physicians, the largest nephrology practice in the state of Florida and an established GNS member-practice. The addition of SCNA will further expand GNS’ growing presence. SCNA serves more than 13,000 patients with a team of twelve providers, including nephrologists and nurse practitioners. The practice operates three office locations in Melbourne and Palm Bay, Fla., and covers six area hospitals.

New WCAS Portfolio Company Valtruis Leads Cricket Health’s $83.5M Funding Round

When private equity giant Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe (WCAS) launched its new portfolio company Valtruis last week, it dedicated the new venture to value-based care. And while Valtruis didn’t specify its exact investment areas, it seemed likely that “the home” would play a big part, given the rise of new in-home care models. That hunch was verified just a few days later.

CMS Wants to Reward Dialysis Providers for Improving Home Dialysis among Low-Income Beneficiaries

The Biden administration wants to reward providers that improve rates of home dialysis and kidney transplants among low-income Medicare and dual eligible beneficiaries. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a proposed rule Thursday that updates payment rates for the End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Prospective Payment System and make changes to the quality incentive program and ESRD Treatment Choices Model. The goal of the changes is to encourage dialysis providers to decrease disparities in home dialysis and transplant rates, part of a larger effort by the Biden administration.