How we compare to the nation

Our patients deserve the best possible care. That is why Northwest Kidney Centers makes quality a top priority. We measure quality in multiple ways: the federal government’s 5-star rating system, federal Dialysis Facility Reports, and patient experience surveys. Here we summarize our quality results for 2018 from these reports. (Brand new clinics do not receive ratings.)

Superlative star ratings

Based on 2018 performance in eight key quality areas, we earned an average of 4.63 stars on Medicare’s 5-star scale, the highest star rating we have ever achieved. Twelve clinics received 5 stars, two clinics received 4 stars, and two received 3 stars. In all, 88% of Northwest Kidney Centers clinics are rated “above average” or “much above average.”

High patient satisfaction

An outside firm surveys our clinic patients twice a year about their perceptions of the care we provide. Based on results of the 2018 In-Center Hemodialysis Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (ICH-CAHPS) survey, the federal government rated 10 of our clinics. Of rated clinics, 90% received a superior score of 4 or 5 stars for overall patient experience of care.

We consistently lead the nation in clinical performance

Our clinical performance continues to exceed the U.S. average across a range of measured domains: better survival, higher transplantation rates, fewer hospitalizations, better vascular access, and higher flu immunization rates. Dialysis Facility Reports tell us:

✓ Survival rates exceed the nation and new patients do much better
Our mortality rate for all patients is 5% better than the nation. For people in their first year of dialysis it is a remarkable 15% better than the national average. The transition to dialysis can be a vulnerable period. Nationally, new patients have worse survival than longer-term patients. Our new patients have better survival rates. We believe this is due to access to nephrology doctors, preparation before starting dialysis and our focus on a smooth adjustment during the critical first year on dialysis.

✓ Many more transplants
Our kidney transplant rate is 62% higher than the national average. Kidney transplant is the best treatment option for eligible individuals. In 2018 we celebrated 102 kidney transplants in our patients, the most in any year so far. We provide guidance to patients and families throughout the process, from initially qualifying to celebrating when they receive a transplant. The demand for kidney transplant exceeds available organs; more than 20% of our patients are waiting for a transplant.

✓ Fewer hospitalizations
In 2018, our patients had 12% fewer hospital admissions than the national average. Through better care coordination and helping people with kidney disease live well, we strive to avoid unnecessary hospitalizations. Furthermore, by reducing preventable hospitalizations, we help to reduce total cost of health care.

✓ Effective, safe blood access
The gold standard for hemodialysis blood access is a fistula. The alternative is a hemodialysis catheter, which carries an increased chance of infection. We strive to limit catheter use. In 2018, 9% of our patients had a long-term hemodialysis catheter, compared to 12% nationwide.

✓ Protection from the flu 
Patients with kidney disease are especially vulnerable to influenza. A total of 80% of our patients were vaccinated for influenza by December 31, 2018 compared to 73% for the rest of the country.

✓ Knowledge is power when facing kidney failure
That’s why we invest in chronic kidney disease outreach, offering free classes to people with kidney disease as well as their family members. Our Choices class covers treatment options, including home dialysis and transplant. Last year about 40% of all new patients starting dialysis at Northwest Kidney Centers had received Choices education. We have expanded Choices class locations to multiple clinics. Our goal is for everyone to have this class preparation before starting dialysis.

In 2018, 373 individuals with serious kidney problems attended Choices classes to prepare for treatment down the road, if needed. We urge attendance at Choices because better outcomes result – more patients start dialysis with a permanent access in place, they choose home dialysis more often, and they are more likely to start dialysis treatment in the outpatient setting instead of in a hospital.

Getting better all the time

There’s always room to do things better and we aim for continuous improvement. We are working to lower dialysis-related infections, better coordinate care after a hospital experience, and reach more people with pre-dialysis education.

Medicare Star Ratings

Each year, Medicare assesses dialysis facilities across the country.
Our stars shine bright.


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2018 star ratings

Northwest Kidney Centers averages the individual ratings awarded to each of its 16 dialysis clinics (those open in 2018) to reach a system-wide average of 4.63 stars.

Twelve clinics received 5 stars, two clinics received 4 stars, and two received 3 stars.

Compliance program, privacy practices


Northwest Kidney Centers’ compliance program and code of conduct promotes ethical, legal and professional behavior by employees and others acting on behalf of the organization. Call the Compliance Hotline at 1-800-371-2174, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to speak to the compliance officer. You may remain anonymous if you wish. Our privacy practices notice describes how medical information about you may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information.