History of the Dialysis Crisis

Since 2009 ARxC has been fighting to find long-term and regular dialysis treatment for 30 uninsured and undocumented End-Stage-Renal Disease (ESRD) patients of Grady Memorial Hospital.

The patients were at risk of losing their dialysis care in September of 2009 when Grady closed their outpatient dialysis clinic. As a result of ARxC's continuous advocacy and legal efforts, Grady elected to provide the patients with care until September 1, 2010. During the months leading up to this deadline, ARxC worked in collaboration with DeKalb Commissioner Larry Johnson and ARxC supporters, to get private dialysis providers to take the patients 'in kind.' Eventually 13 patients were provided a lifetime of dialysis 'in kind' by Fresenius (5 patients), DaVita (5 patients), and Emory Dialysis (3 patients). Grady Hospital made a contract with Fresenius to pay for the 22 remaining uninsured and undocumented ESRD patients to receiv
e dialysis through Fresenius clinics. 
 
On August 31, 2011 Grady Hospital's contract with Fresenius expired. Claiming their financial difficulties made it no longer feasible for them to provide ongoing care, Grady refused new offers by Fresenius and, eventually, refused to negotiate a new contract with Fresenius. 
 
Fresenius sent notices to the patients on August 25, 2011, claiming that after August 31, 2011 they were required to go to Grady Hospital to receive their dialysis treatments. After receiving confirmation from Grady Health System that the patients would only receive dialysis through the Grady Emergency Room when their condition was critical, the patients had no other option but to return to their Fresenius clinics for their scheduled tre
atment. Tragically the patients were turned away by Fresenius staff on September 1, 2011. Their regular dialysis treatments had officially ended. 
The following days the patients were forced to wait for their health to deteriorate until their condition was critical enough for them to receive emergency dialysis treatment through the Emergency Room. Despite the fact that the patients were feeling poorly and showing symptoms, GHS staff repeatedly denied treatment and directed the patients to return to the ER only if their symptoms worsened. Over the week some patients were turned away from Grady while others were admitted as a result of life-threatening complications that developed due to lack of dialysis.
 
During the week that the patients were forced to seek care through the Emergency Room, ARxC patient, Reina Andrande, became unconscious. She was admitted at Gwinnett Medical Center and provided the care she needed. While hospitalized she was told she would survive less than

 a year on emergency dialysis. Although she was aware of ARxC's efforts to secure her and the other patients with continuous dialysis, Reina felt she had no other option but to return to her home country of Honduras to be with family.   
 
On September 7, 2011, hours after Reina and her son flew out to Honduras, Allison & Partners held a meeting for ARxC and Fresenius staff and attorneys to meet and develop a plan of action to secure treatment for the patients. That evening a deal was agreed upon between Fresenius and Grady Health System. At 5:40PM the following day, September 8, 2011, the new contract was signed.
 
The new contract provides scheduled, uninterrupted dialysis for 21 ARxC patients. This agreement will remain in force for three years (with the option of extending) or until private dialysis providers, Metro Atlanta hospitals, dialysis suppliers, community and civic leaders, elected officials and other interested parties can meet to address a permanent solution of continuous dialysis treatment.
 
On September 31, 2014 the contract between Grady and Frasenius was renewed to allow for continued and routine dialysis treatment to the remaining patients on the contract. 
 
While the patients are now provided the care they need to live their lives, ARxC continues efforts to coordinate meetings with community stakeholders to derive a permanent resolution. 

More information about the Dialysis Crisis is provided in the press releases in the Press RoomPublications (i.e. news articles, media clips, etc.) about the crisis are also posted on the In the News webpage.