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U.S. CONGRESSMAN BILL JOHNSON Proudly Representing Eastern and Southeastern Ohio

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Johnson tours DaVita dialysis center

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Steubenville, August 18, 2017 | comments
U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, toured the DaVita dialysis center on Thursday, talking with patients and administrators about the challenges of treating people with end-stage renal disease.
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Steubenville Herald-Star
By Mark Law
Published August 18, 2017

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, toured the DaVita dialysis center on Thursday, talking with patients and administrators about the challenges of treating people with end-stage renal disease.

Kelly Wilson, facility administrator, and Mike O’Rourke, group administrator, talked with Johnson about a House bill which could be introduced and would help patients navigate the complexity of their medical conditions.

A DaVita spokesperson said patients with end-stage renal disease are some of the most vulnerable patients in the health care system, medically and financially. On average, dialysis patients have more than four diseases, take more than 21 pills a day and are admitted to the hospital for around 11 days a year.

DaVita has spent 20 years establishing its integrated care model, according to the spokesperson.

The bill, which could be introduced by U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, Wash., would create a five-year trial period to help reduce costs associated with treatment.

Johnson said he will contact the congresswoman about the status of the introduction of the bill. He said it is vital to make the system more efficient.

DaVita’s Steubenville facility, located on Sinclair Avenue, has 21 dialysis treatment stations and serves about 100 patients, who each undergo four hours of dialysis three times a week.

Johnson walked about the treatment room, talking with patients and offering support. He then met with Tom Anderson of Annapolis, who has received two kidney transplants and had been a dialysis patient. Anderson has formed a support team and talks with patients to keep their spirits up.

Johnson said there is a lot of work to be done for patients to get medical insurance coverage for transplants.

“I always have my finger on the pulse of what is going on in the health community. I love to talk to patients and providers on how things are going. Each time, I learn something new,” said Johnson, who has been touring his district while Congress takes its summer break.

Johnson said his ultimate goal is to “fix the failure called Obamacare.”

Facilities like DaVita treat patients like family because they spend so much time there, the congressman explained.

“It is that touch where they get to know what patients are thinking and feeling,” he said.

It is disappointing that the latest attempt at health care reform failed, Johnson said. He added the House sent a responsible bill to the Senate, and members there “couldn’t get it across the line.”

He said he is hopeful, when Congress returns to session in September, that Democrats and Republicans can come to the table to resolve “the failure of Obamacare.”

“We need to reform health care so the decisions are left to the patients and doctors,”Johnson said.

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