Background and objectives: Arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs) remain the preferred vascular access for hemodialysis patients. Dialysis facilities that fail to meet Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services goals cite patient case-mix as a reason for low AVF prevalence. This study aimed to determine the magnitude of the variability in AVF usage across dialysis facilities and the extent to which patient case-mix explains it. Design, setting, participants, & measurements: The vascular access used in 10,112 patients dialyzed at 173 Dialysis Clinic Inc. facilities from October 1 to December 31, 2004, was evaluated. The access in use was considered to be an AVF if it was used for >70% of hemodialysis treatments. Mixed-effects models with a random intercept for dialysis facilities evaluated the effect of facilities on AVF usage. Sequentially adjusted multivariate models measured the extent to which patient factors (case-mix) explain variation across facilities in AVF rates. Results: 3787 patients (38%) were dialyzed using AVFs. There was a significant facility effect: 7.6% of variation in AVF use was attributable to facility. This was reduced to 7.1% after case-mix adjustment. There were no identified specific facility-level factors that explained the interfacility variation. Conclusions: AVF usage varies across dialysis facilities, and patient case-mix did not reduce this variation. In this study, 92% of the total variation in AVF usage was due to patient factors, but most were not measurable. A combination of patient factors and process indicators should be considered in adjudicating facility performance for this quality indicator.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology|
|State||Published - 2010|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine