Following a highly critical article in the NYTimes on HHC’s plan to privatize kidney dialysis, the hearing that would have resulted in a vote on the privatization plan of four New York City HHC hospitals, Harlem Hospital, Kings County Hospital, Lincoln Hospital Center and Metropolitan Hospital, was postponed. Four major HHC institutions started to plan, over a year ago, to sell their dialysis units to Big Apple Dialysis, a for-profit franchise of Atlantic Dialysis.
Government data has made it clear that private dialysis centers do not perform as well as the hospitals themselves.
Considering the fact that HHC institutions have higher than average rates of performance and Atlantic’s rate of performance is below average, especially in regard to mortality rates, many are concerned that this shift towards privatization will ultimately hurt the many patients in NYC that rely on dialysis treatment to stay alive.
Dialysis treatment is not inexpensive: the HHC claims that the outsourcing of dialysis would save the HHC system $150 million over the next nine years. However, much of these savings stem from replacing trained RNs with lower-paid technicians.
We at NYSNA have argued that for-profit dialysis not only relies on reduced staffing to remain profitable, but also results in a series of policies that, while cost-effective, increase mortality rates: decrease in patient education, lower quality needles and tubing, and the prescribing of anemia drugs used at levels that result in greater injury.
NYSNA turned up to the hearing in full force, joined by concerned community members, doctors, interns and residents, and caregivers. This postponement is only a first step: we will continue to fight the for-profit onslaught in dialysis and elsewhere.