Nurses to Testify Against For-Profit Takeover of Dialysis Services
DaVita Inc. Seeks to Buy EMMC’s Dialysis Services
Registered Nurses, members of the Maine State Nurses Association and National Nurses Organizing Committee /National Nurses United -- the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in the country, with 175,000 members -- will hold a press conference in front of Spectacular Events in Bangor on Tuesday, July 10 at 9:30 am, to call attention to the proposed sale of Eastern Maine Medical Center’s dialysis services to DaVita Inc., the nation’s largest for-profit dialysis provider.
What: Press Conference followed by Testimony on proposed sale of EMMC’s dialysis services
Where: Spectacular Events, 395 Griffin Road, Bangor
When: Tuesday, July 10 – 9:30 am (Press Conference); 10 am (Testimony)
Following the news conference, at 10 am, the nurses will testify before the state’s Certificate of Need Unit. The nurses believe, based upon published reports and other information received, that the sale is neither in the interests of patients nor to the benefit of Maine’s communities overall.
“We have several serious concerns about this sale,” said Cokie Giles, RN and President, MSNA. “We have heard about DaVita’s uneven record in providing quality patient care. Can we expect better? As a for-profit, will DaVita put patients first and will the company keep a fair share of the revenues earned here in Maine?”
Others to testify include the Maine People's Alliance, Maine AFL-CIO, Consumers Union and Food and Medicine.
Maine’s Certificate of Need Unit is holding this public hearing in order to hear testimony of and answer questions from the public. The Certificate of Need Unit, DHHS Commissioner and – eventually -- the Governor are empowered to make the final decision on the sale to DaVita.
DaVita Inc. is a Fortune 500 company with more than 1,840 outpatient dialysis centers in the U.S., serving about 145,000 patients, making it the largest provider in the country. U.S. taxpayers spend more than $20 billion a year for dialysis services, yet this nation continues to have one of the industrialized world’s highest mortality rates for dialysis care, according to published reports on www.propublica.org and in The Atlantic magazine. Dialysis centers have no staffing ratios for RN-to-patient care; ratios are key to achieving and maintaining safe, quality patient care, say the nurses.
Staffing is just one of the issues underlying MSNA’s objections to the sale. Nurses point out that DaVita has come under criticism from patient advocates, government authorities, faced litigation and paid fines to the government for a host of serious deficiencies in its clinic system operations.