Ongoing changes to reimbursement of United States dialysis care may increase the risk of dialysis facility closures. Closures may be particularly detrimental to the health of patients receiving dialysis, who are medically complex and clinically tenuous.
We used two separate analytic strategies-one using facility-based matching and the other using propensity score matching-to compare health outcomes of patients receiving in-center hemodialysis at United States facilities that closed with outcomes of similar patients who were unaffected. We used negative binomial and Cox regression models to estimate associations of facility closure with hospitalization and mortality in the subsequent 180 days.
We identified 8386 patients affected by 521 facility closures from January 2001 through April 2014. In the facility-matched model, closures were associated with 9% higher rates of hospitalization (relative rate ratio [RR], 1.09; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.03 to 1.16), yielding an absolute annual rate difference of 1.69 hospital days per patient-year (95% CI, 0.45 to 2.93). Similarly, in a propensity-matched model, closures were associated with 7% higher rates of hospitalization (RR, 1.07; 95% CI, 1.00 to 1.13; =0.04), yielding an absolute rate difference of 1.08 hospital days per year (95% CI, 0.04 to 2.12). Closures were associated with nonsignificant increases in mortality (hazard ratio [HR], 1.08; 95% CI, 1.00 to 1.18; 0.05 for the facility-matched comparison; HR, 1.08; 95% CI, 0.99 to 1.17; =0.08 for the propensity-matched comparison).
Patients affected by dialysis facility closures experienced increased rates of hospitalization in the subsequent 180 days and may be at increased risk of death. This highlights the need for effective policies that continue to mitigate risk of facility closures.

Copyright © 2021 by the American Society of Nephrology.