Editor's note: Due to its dependence on campaign contributions, Congress will not act without having the dialysis industry on board.
At this point, the interests of U.S. nephrologists and the for-profit dialysis industry have virtually merged. U.S. nephrologists have long been allowed to have ownership stakes in dialysis facilities. This has proven to be a horrible mistake.
Physician ownership of dialysis facilities and physician self-interests have driven U.S. nephrology to practice a model of cheap, fast, barely adequate dialysis care that no U.S. nephrologists would accept for themselves. This U.S. model places virtually no emphasis on psychosocial well-being, renal rehabilitation, patient employment, or the quality of the patients' lives.
Unfortunately, Congress and U.S. nephrology are incapable of action -- or shame -- when their own wallets might be lightened.