Eastern Maine Medical Center recently announced it will sell its three outpatient dialysis clinics to Colorado-based DaVita Inc., one of the nation's largest for-profit dialysis companies. DaVita, however, is currently being investigated in Denver and is facing a lawsuit from former employees.
EMMC President and CEO Deborah Carey Johnson told the Bangor Daily News the hospital has signed a letter of intent with DaVita to sell its clinics in Bangor, Ellsworth and Lincoln for an undisclosed price. The clinics' 66 employees will be retained. It is no longer common for nonprofit entities like EMMC to own dialysis clinics, as more than 80% of the country's 5,000 clinics are for-profit, according to the paper.
DaVita operates more than 1,800 clinics in 43 states. The company is currently the subject of a criminal investigation by a federal grand jury related to its financial relationship with kidney doctors. Company officials are cooperating with the investigation. A former doctor and nurse for DaVita also filed a whistle-blower lawsuit alleging the company intentionally wasted an anemia drug to recoup millions of dollars in Medicare payments, an allegation DaVita denies. Last month, a judge dismissed the company's request to dismiss the case, according to the paper.
Johnson told the Daily News that none of the claims against the company have been substantiated and that no penalties have been levied against DaVita. On its website, EMMC said DaVita has a strong reputation and that its "culture and values are a good fit with our own, and are centered on providing high quality, best practice dialysis care to patients."
Editor's note: This item was modified April 30 to add additional information from EMMC.