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Tuesday
Nov092010

Controversial Findings on U.S. Kidney Dialysis Programs

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- An investigation of kidney dialysis programs in the United States finds taxpayers spend more than $20 billion a year to care for kidney dialysis patients yet one in four of the 100,000 patients who starts the process every year will die within a year. 

ProPublica's look at the process finds that even when you consider differences in patients, studies suggest thousands of lives could be saved if the U.S. system functioned like ones in Italy, France or Japan.  The investigation found at clinics from coast to coast, patients routinely receive treatment under unsanitary conditions and regulators have few tools and little will to enforce quality standards. 

ProPublica claims the government has withheld critical data about clinics' performance.  The online site points out that the two corporate chains that dominate the dialysis-care system in the U.S. are consistently profitable, together raking in about $2 billion in operating profits a year.

ProPublica bills itself as an independent non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest, stories with what it calls "moral force."

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