Health Paradox: New US Diabetes Cases Fall as Obesity Rises

The number of new diabetes cases among U.S. adults keeps falling, even as obesity rates climb, and health officials aren’t sure why. New federal data released Tuesday found the number of new diabetes diagnoses fell to about 1.3 million in 2017, down from 1.7 million in 2009. Earlier research had spotted a decline, and the new report shows it’s been going on for close to a decade. But health officials are not celebrating. “The bottom line is we don’t know for sure what’s driving these trends,” said the lead author of the new report, Dr. Stephen Benoit of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among the possibilities: Changes in testing and getting people to improve their health before becoming diabetic.

UnitedHealth: DaVita Medical Deal ‘Progressing’ on Path to Close

UnitedHealth Group’s effort to acquire DaVita Medical Group has dragged on longer than expected for an acquisitive healthcare company known for closing transactions on time and with little regulatory hassle. But there appears to be little concern from UnitedHealth executives who provided an update Tuesday on the $4.3 billion acquisition during an 80-minute call to discuss first quarter earnings with Wall Street analysts. “We are progressing toward the close of the DaVita Medical Group transaction and we look forward to adding more markets, more doctors, and clinical staff serving more patients,” UnitedHealth CEO David Wichmann told analysts. The acquisition of DaVita, first announced in December of 2017, has yet to close even after UnitedHealth and DaVita amended their original purchase agreement to lower the price of the large operator of clinics and doctor practices to help win approval of the deal from the Federal Trade Commission.

U.S. Seeks to Cut Dialysis Costs with More Home Care Versus Clinics

The Trump administration is working on a new payment approach for treating kidney disease that favors lower cost care at home and transplants, a change that would upend a dialysis industry that provides care in thousands of clinics nationwide. The goal is to reduce the $114 billion paid by the U.S. government each year to treat chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease, a top area of spending. The changes pose a particular risk to DaVita Inc and Fresenius Medical Care AG, which operate more than 5,000 U.S. dialysis clinics and control around 70 percent of the market. They could also provide an opening for new rivals, including CVS Health Corp, which seeks to offer lower-cost home dialysis, and startups Cricket Health and Somatus, which focus on early intervention to slow progression to kidney failure.

U.S. Renal Care to Be Acquired by Investor Group

U.S. Renal Care, Inc., a leading provider of dialysis services for patients suffering from end stage renal disease, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by a private investor group led by Chris Brengard and the U.S. Renal management team, along with Bain Capital Private Equity, Summit Partners, Revelstoke Capital Partners, and Mark Caputo (collectively the ‘Investor Group’). U.S. Renal Care will continue to operate under its current management team, who will remain significant investors in the company. Financial terms of the private transaction were not disclosed. Founded in 2000 by Chris Brengard and an experienced team of healthcare executives, U.S. Renal Care partners with nephrologists and hospitals to develop, acquire, and operate outpatient treatment centers for patients suffering from kidney failure, also known as end stage renal disease. The company provides patients with their choice of a full range of quality in-center and at-home dialysis. Today, U.S. Renal Care serves approximately 25,000 patients in 335 dialysis facilities across 32 states and the Territory of Guam.

Dialyze Direct Completes Acquisition of Affiliated Dialysis Centers

Dialyze Direct, LLC, has completed its previously announced acquisition of Affiliated Dialysis Centers, LLC, an established dialysis provider in the Midwest, making Dialyze Direct the largest provider of staff-assisted home hemodialysis services in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) in the United States. This acquisition provides Dialyze Direct with the opportunity to build upon Affiliated’s established and well-regarded SNF dialysis business by elevating it to Dialyze Direct’s unique outcome-driven model, which provides a comprehensive turn-key solution for SNF customers. The Affiliated Dialysis Centers operations acquired by Dialyze Direct consist of an established business in Illinois with a wide footprint covering SNF dialysis, outpatient clinic dialysis and home dialysis services, as well as recent SNF dialysis operations in Ohio and the development of new SNF dialysis operations in Indiana.

Cost Savings, Disruption Threat Pushing More Providers into Home Dialysis

In an era when just about every medical treatment that can be done at home is moving in that direction, only about 12% of patients receiving kidney dialysis do so at home, despite it being cheaper and research showing it’s just as safe. Providers aim to see a return on the money spent building and staffing those dialysis clinics, which some say means keeping patients in those dialysis chairs. But the country’s biggest dialysis providers insist they’re all-in when it comes to home dialysis, and reject the notion that their own reluctance has contributed to the slow uptake. One potential driver of companies’ apparent enthusiasm for home treatment might be CVS Health’s announcement last year that it plans to disrupt kidney care by expanding home dialysis, identifying kidney disease earlier and developing new home hemodialysis technology.