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Transplant Referral Less Likely For Dialysis Patients at For-Profit Facilities

Rates of starting evaluations within six months of referral and wait-listing within six months similar at for-profit, nonprofit centers

WEDNESDAY, June 2, 2021 (HealthDay News) — For patients with kidney failure initiating dialysis, referral for evaluation at a transplant center is lower at for-profit facilities, according to a study published online May 26 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Laura J. McPherson, M.P.H., from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues examined the correlation between dialysis facility profit status and critical steps in the transplantation process in Georgia and North and South Carolina in a retrospective cohort study. The cohort included 33,651 patients with kidney failure initiating dialysis from Jan. 1, 2012, to Aug. 31, 2016.

The researchers found that 85 percent of the patients received dialysis treatment at a for-profit facility. The cumulative incidence difference for referral within one year of dialysis was lower at for-profit versus nonprofit facilities (−4.5 percent). For-profit versus nonprofit facilities had lower referral for evaluation at a transplant center in adjusted analyses (hazard ratio, 0.84). There was no meaningful difference observed between the groups in the start of evaluation within six months of referral and wait-listing within six months of evaluation.

“The early steps in transplant access remain frustratingly opaque, indicating the ongoing need to address long-standing disparities and ensure equity in treatment options for patients with kidney failure,” write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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