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Fresenius Medical Care's RightStart Program Improves Mortality and Hospitalization Rates in Dialysis Patients.

Patients Who Receive More Individualized Case Management In Early Stages of Treatment Are Empowered to Succeed

CHICAGO -- Fresenius Medical Care's RightStart[TM] program, which provides one-on-one case management to educate and empower new dialysis patients, has reduced mortality rates by nearly half and significantly reduced hospitalization rates during the first 90 days of treatment during its pilot program. Mats Wahlstrom, Co-CEO of Fresenius Medical Care North America and CEO of Fresenius Medical Services, cited the success of this program to leading nephrologists and healthcare professionals last week at the Fresenius Medical Services (FMS) Medical Directors' Symposium.

RightStart is the first program of its kind and pioneered strategies for improving outcomes for new dialysis patients by providing intensive education, encouragement and support to help them manage their own treatment and health. In designing the program, Fresenius Medical Care wanted to address some of the reversible risk factors contributing to early mortality, such as nutrition, anemia, dialysis dose, and patient empowerment.

During the first four months of dialysis treatment, a RightStart case manager regularly counsels patients enrolled in the program, including review of treatment information, how to take medicines, what those medicines are for, and how to best work with their healthcare team. RightStart also helps patients take more individual responsibility for care, and informs them of risks associated with missing treatments, not following their diet, and other critical components of their treatment program.

Some of the most significant findings from the program include:*

* Overall, dialysis patients in the RightStart program had a 41 percent lower mortality compared to a control group of patients in the first 90 days of treatment.

* The benefit of the program was measured out to one year and there was a 34 percent reduction in mortality during this time frame, compared to a control group.

* RightStart participants experienced significantly lower hospitalization rates. Over one year, RightStart patients spent an average of 7.2 days in the hospital versus 10.5 days for patients who were not in the program.

* Results also suggested that the observed changes in early mortality and hospitalization could be partially attributable to improvement in patients' psychological well being and/or a better understanding of their health.

"This program goes way beyond typical new patient orientation because it provides personalized education combined with consistent follow-through to truly engage patients," said Raymond Hakim, M.D., Ph.D., senior executive vice president, Clinical and Scientific Affairs for Fresenius Medical Care. "The bottom line is that providing one-on-one education about dialysis reduces mortality rates, and that's well worth the extra time and effort that our staff invests in this program."

RightStart case managers encourage patients to take charge of their health, which means learning about their condition and how to work well with their healthcare team. The program also teaches patients how each team member in the clinic is there to help -- from the receptionist to the social worker, the dietitian to the nurse, the technicians and doctors. However, the program is centered around the patient as the most important member of the health care team. RightStart patients have been highly satisfied with the program and the corresponding results in their health.

RightStart began in 2002 and has since moved beyond its pilot phase, and has begun its current phase of expansion to Fresenius Medical Care patients across the country. The program complements Fresenius Medical Care's UltraCare([R]) mission, which is to deliver excellent care to patients through innovative programs, the latest technology, continuous improvement and a focus on superior customer service. Patient-centered care is a prime element of UltraCare.

The 2009 FMS Medical Directors' Symposium brought together leading physicians and medical professionals, to discuss current topics in dialysis and chronic kidney disease. In its 13th year, the FMS Medical Directors' Symposium took place April 16 and 17 in Chicago.

Fresenius Medical Services is a division of Fresenius Medical Care North America, operator of the nation's leading network of dialysis facilities.

*Wingard, R.L., Pupim, L.B., Krishnan, M., Shintani, A., Ikizler, T.A., & Hakim, R.M. (2007). "Early intervention improves mortality and hospitalization rates in incident hemodialysis patients: RightStart Program." Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 2, 1170- 1175.

About Fresenius Medical Care North America

Fresenius Medical Care North America is a subsidiary of Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co. KGaA, the world's largest integrated provider of products and services for individuals undergoing dialysis because of chronic kidney failure, a condition that affects more than 1,600,000 individuals worldwide. Through its network of 2,388 dialysis clinics in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Africa, Fresenius Medical Care provides dialysis treatment to approximately 184,080 patients around the globe. Fresenius Medical Care is also the world's leading provider of dialysis products such as hemodialysis machines, dialyzers and related disposable products. Fresenius Medical Care is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (FME, FME3) and the New York Stock Exchange (FMS, FMS-p).

For more information about Fresenius Medical Care's U.S. network of more than 1,700 dialysis facilities, visit the Company's website at www.ultracare-dialysis.com (in English and Spanish). For more information about Fresenius Medical Care, visit the Company's websites: www.fmcna.com or www.fmc-ag.com.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Apr 20, 2009
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