The Dialysis unit at Rice Memorial Hospital has earned a 5-star rating from “Dialysis Facility Compare (DFC) Star Program.” The DFC is a rating system developed by Medicare that assigns 1 to 5 stars to dialysis facilities by comparing the health of the patients in their clinics to the patients in other dialysis facilities across the country. Each dialysis facility is graded on nine separate health statistics which include: mortality ratios, hospitalizations, blood transfusions, percentage of AV fistulas, incidents of hypercalcemia, percentage of waste removed during hemodialysis in adults and children, percentage of waste removed in adults during peritoneal dialysis, and percentage of catheters in use over 90 days.
The Dialysis unit located at Rice Memorial Hospital is among 30% of dialysis units in the United States that have a 4 to 5 star rating. Rice Dialysis has formed a Quality Improvement Committee that meets monthly to review clinical data, patient education, staff audits, infection control, hospitalizations and other data as determined by the committee. “With this information, we develop improvement plans to meet national standards and our own unit standards. Improvement plans are reviewed at least once a month and remain in place until the goal is met,” said Barb Grube, Manager of Dialysis.
Medicare also sets a standard of having at least 21.4% of patients under the age of 70 on the transplant wait list. Rice’s hemodialysis unit exceeds this standard with 44.9% of eligible patients listed for transplant within the last 12 months.
An increase in patient numbers have reflected the 5-star rating, as well. Peritoneal dialysis, a treatment that can be done in a patient’s home, has grown exponentially in the past year. “We have doubled our number of peritoneal patients from nine in April 2017 to 18 in April of this year,” said Grube.
Mary Beth Potter, Director of Rice Dialysis, credits this 5-star achievement to the staff, “It’s really a team effort. The nurses, social workers, pharmacists, dieticians, nephrologists, bio-med department, and Medical Director all work cohesively. They are always looking for ways that we can improve for our patients.”
The online Dialysis Facility Compare tool is available at www.medicare.gov/dialysisfacilitycompare. Researchers simply enter a zip code or city and state to compare dialysis facilities nationwide.