Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Launches Program with DaVita’s VillageHealth to Improve Care for Members with Kidney Disease
Collaboration aimed at slowing disease progression and increasing access to transplants and home dialysis

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross) today announced the launch of an innovative new program with VillageHealth − a DaVita integrated kidney care program − that addresses the holistic health needs of certain eligible members with chronic kidney disease (CKD) or end stage kidney disease (ESKD).


The value-based agreement is designed to improve health outcomes and reduce the total cost of care for eligible Blue Cross members by: 

  • Coordinating care for all eligible members with CKD or ESKD – VillageHealth and DaVita, in collaboration with nephrologists and primary care physicians, will coordinate all care into one integrated plan that can be managed on behalf of the patient. 
  • Reaching patients earlier through primary care – The program will include an awareness campaign for primary care providers to help them improve kidney disease screening; proactively manage early-stage CKD patients; and facilitate appropriately-timed referrals to nephrologists.
  • Using advanced predictive analytics to help identify high-risk members – In collaboration with the Nephrology Care Alliance (NCA), VillageHealth will help identify eligible high-risk members and inform providers about opportunities for individual health interventions, including home dialysis and transplantation. Proprietary predictive analytics from DaVita use more than one billion patient data points to help physicians target the right care at the right time and place.
  • Delivering award-winning patient education – Working with NCA’s independent nephrologists, DaVita will deliver community-based, in-office and virtual education to help empower eligible members to make active choices in their care.

“We have a significant opportunity to help delay the progression of kidney disease and better meet the complex health needs of those with kidney failure,” said Dr. Mark Steffen, chief medical officer for Blue Cross. “By collaborating with VillageHealth, we are committed to enhancing the quality of life for thousands of members, while simultaneously reducing the cost of care by improving outcomes related to kidney disease.”


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 7 U.S. adults are estimated to have CKD. Because symptoms are often silent in the early stages, most are unaware of their condition. If left untreated, CKD can progress to ESKD, when a transplant or dialysis is necessary to sustain life.


“The earlier we identify patients and coordinate their care, the more impact we can have on important outcomes, such as slowing progression, transplantation or choosing home dialysis,” said Dr. Jeff Giullian, chief medical officer for DaVita Kidney Care. “By bringing Minnesota’s health care community together in an even more collaborative way, we can deliver better care to patients. We are honored to support Blue Cross members by delivering holistic, integrated kidney care.”


The program’s early-stage CKD interventions focus on comorbid condition management, including medication management and diet support. Late-stage CKD interventions support patients in making active choices in their care options, including preemptive kidney transplants, and in-home or in-center dialysis.


For members with ESKD, anticipating and preventing hospitalizations is an essential aspect of VillageHealth’s care model. Similar programs have reduced hospital admissions for patients with kidney disease by nearly 30 percent. Another key component for ESKD members is increasing the rates of transplantation and home dialysis treatment options, both of which can help improve patients’ health care experience and quality of life.[1]  



About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota

For nearly 90 years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota ( has supported the health, wellbeing and peace of mind of our members by striving to ensure equitable access to high quality care at an affordable price. We are on a mission to inspire change, transform care and improve health for the people and communities we serve by reinventing both ourselves and the broader system. Our more than 2.5 million members can be found in every Minnesota county, all 50 states and on four continents. As a proud nonprofit organization, we believe working to advance wellness for all Minnesotans is the greatest investment we can make. Our goal is nothing less than for everyone to be able to achieve their full health potential, regardless of race or other socially defined circumstances. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, which serves more than 107 million members across the U.S.



About VillageHealth

VillageHealth is a DaVita integrated kidney care subsidiary that supports people throughout their kidney care journey – whether a person is in the early stages of kidney disease, transitioning to dialysis or seeking a transplant. It operates in all 50 states and aims to provide comprehensive care, including complex chronic conditions that may affect kidney health. VillageHealth has impacted over 100,000 lives over 20 years of delivering integrated kidney care. Visit for more information.



About DaVita Inc.

DaVita (NYSE: DVA) is a health care provider focused on transforming care delivery to improve quality of life for patients globally. The company is one of the largest providers of kidney care services in the U.S. and has been a leader in clinical quality and innovation for more than 20 years. Through DaVita Kidney Care, the company treats patients with chronic kidney failure and end stage kidney disease. DaVita is committed to bold, patient-centric care models, implementing the latest technologies and moving toward integrated care offerings for all. Through these efforts, DaVita has also become the largest provider of home dialysis in the country. As of December 31, 2020, DaVita served 204,200 patients at 2,816 outpatient dialysis centers in the United States. The company also operated 321 outpatient dialysis centers in ten countries worldwide. DaVita has reduced hospitalizations, improved mortality, and worked collaboratively to propel the kidney care industry to adopt an equitable and high-quality standard of care for all patients, everywhere. To learn more, visit


Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements are based on management's current expectations. Various important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements, including the risks identified in our U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings. DaVita disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statement contained in this press release, except as may be otherwise required by law.


[1]  Modality selections and decisions related to a patient's care are always made by the attending nephrologist and patient, and provided pursuant to a physician's order.