• Bassett Dialysis Centers’ Patient Outcomes Earn Top Tier Quality Rankings

    December 6, 2017

    For people with kidney failure, dialysis treatment replaces the kidney’s function of cleaning the blood of toxins and removing extra fluids. It is a process that typically takes a few to several hours and the type of vascular access used for the treatment to occur is critically important to patient outcomes.

    Arteriovenous fistula, or AV fistula, is the connection a vascular surgeon makes of an artery to a vein and it is considered the gold standard of vascular access. In a recent survey, Bassett’s dialysis teams in Cooperstown and Oneonta achieved a top 10 percent performance out of 6,620 dialysis centers in the nation and 278 centers in New York State for having nearly 85 percent of patients with fistula access.

    efc7021658d4b52f8fb37406e65cb53c_f3700.jpg“Our Cooperstown dialysis center ranks fifth in the state and among the top five percent of clinics nationally.  Our Oneonta center ranks in the top seven percent nationally and seventh statewide,” notes Chief of Nephrology Raquel Rosen, MD.  She explains that, “Fistula is the gold standard because it has a lower risk of infection than the other two types of access (catheters and arteriovenous graft). A fistula is also less likely to clot, allows for greater blood flow so hemodialysis is more effective, and it typically functions much longer than a graft or catheter.”

    A fistula is created surgically to directly connect an artery to a vein and because it is a natural part of the body, it can last for decades. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and National Kidney Foundation are among the organizations that recommend fistulas for vascular access and scores like those received by Bassett’s dialysis centers result in a Medicare quality incentive bonus payment (P4P).

    One performance improvement effort initiated several years ago by Dr. Rosen in collaboration with Chief of Vascular Surgery Dr. Robert Moglia that continues today is Bassett’s participation in the CMS Fistula First program. It is a partnership to promote fistula as a best practice for dialysis access. The dialysis team gets together monthly with Bassett’s vascular surgeons to review outcomes and assure new patients are scheduled to have a fistula created rather than having them undergo dialysis with a catheter.

    William Brezsnyak, director of dialysis services, says Bassett’s dialysis teams and surgical teams do a fantastic job ensuring patients get and maintain a fistula. Additionally, Bassett’s dialysis centers have a very low percentage of catheter and graft access and these options are used only when a patient isn’t a candidate for a fistula. “It’s quite an accomplishment. The Bassett vascular surgeons and nephrologists, along with the technicians, nurses, social workers and nutritionists have done an amazing job. They really care about their patients’ and sustained success like they’ve achieved does take this team approach,” concludes Brezsnyak.

    Dialysis patients looking for a dialysis center convenient to where they live have three options in the Bassett Healthcare Network: Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, Oneonta Specialty Services and Little Falls Hospital. Many patients may be candidates for home dialysis. To learn more, call 1-800-BASSETT (227-7388).

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