Dialysis provider expects COVID-19 mortality to remain high

What do you want to know

  • The biggest wave of deaths hit in the first quarter of 2021.
  • The number of deaths fell sharply in the second quarter.
  • Executives believe the number of fatalities this quarter is high.

A company that provides care for people with severe kidney failure assumes that mortality from COVID-19 will be higher this quarter than it was in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Executives from DaVita, a Denver-based kidney dialysis provider, discussed their pandemic mortality outlook on Thursday, during a conference call the company hosted to review last quarter earnings with securities analysts. .

DaVita’s patient population is much older and sicker than the enrollees of any commercial life or health insurer, but the company’s experience could give insurers insight into what might happen to the mortality level of their policyholders most at risk.


DaVita Reports Fourth Quarter 2021 Net Income of $249 Million on Revenue of $2.9 Billion, vs. Net Income of $254 Million on Revenue of $2.9 Billion dollars for the fourth quarter of 2020.

DaVita was providing dialysis services to approximately 243,000 people at the end of 2021 at 3,154 outpatient dialysis centers. The company has 2,815 dialysis centers in the United States and 339 in 10 other countries.

The typical death rate for people on dialysis was around 15-20% before the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning around 35,000-50,000 of its patients died each year.

COVID-19 has increased the death toll by about 7,000 in 2020, according to DaVita.

The pandemic has increased the number of deaths by around 6,200 in 2021.

Here’s what happened to the company’s excess patient mortality in 2021, according to estimates given in quarterly conference calls with securities analysts:

  • January March: 3,000
  • April June : less than 500
  • July-September: 1,600
  • October-December: 1,100

“Although it is too early to accurately predict additional mortality in 2022, given a significant increase in infections in January, we expect first-trimester COVID mortality to be at or above what we experienced in the fourth quarter,” Joel Ackerman, chief financial officer of DaVita, said on the earnings call.

DaVita assumed, when developing its midrange revenue forecast for 2022, that its patients would experience approximately 6,000 additional deaths this year due to COVID-19.

For DaVita, dialysis patient mortality is of great interest, as the flow of new patients requiring dialysis has increased at a slow and steady rate. The main factors that distort treatment volume forecasts are fluctuations in the number of treatments patients miss due to illness and the number of patient deaths.

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