Journal of Nephrology

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 577–584 | Cite as

Vocational activity and health insurance type among patients with end-stage renal disease: association with outcomes

  • Jiacong Luo
  • Andrew Lee
  • Dena E. Cohen
  • Carey Colson
  • Steven M. BrunelliEmail author
Original Article


It is widely thought that patients with end-stage renal disease who remain vocationally active and/or commercially insured following dialysis initiation have better clinical outcomes and higher quality of life than those who do not. However, scientifically robust data are lacking. Here, we examined whether vocational status (active, N = 1848; inactive, N = 10,001) and, separately, insurance status (commercial, N = 4858; Medicare/self-pay, N = 13,329; Medicaid, N = 3528) were associated with clinical outcomes and Kidney Disease Quality of Life (KDQOL) scores among a cohort of patients who initiated dialysis at a large US dialysis organization during 2015–2016. Outcomes were considered from the day after index (31 days after dialysis initiation for vocational status and 1 day after initiation for insurance status) until the earliest of death, discontinuation of dialysis, transplant, loss to follow-up, or end of study (30 September 2016). Comparisons were made using intention-to-treat principles and generalized linear models adjusted for imbalanced patient characteristics, including sociodemographic variables. Vocational inactivity (vs. vocational activity) was independently associated with higher rates of mortality and hospitalization, lower rates of transplant, and lower KDQoL scores in 4 of 5 domains. Similar trends were observed when comparing Medicare/self-pay or Medicaid insurance to commercial insurance. Vocational activity, and separately, commercial insurance, were independently associated with better clinical and quality of life outcomes compared to other insurance and vocational categories. These findings may inform patient and physician education, and guide advocacy efforts.


End-stage renal disease Dialysis Health insurance Vocational activity Outcomes 



We acknowledge the helpful contributions of all members of the Healthcare Analytics and Insights team at DaVita Clinical Research. We also acknowledge informative conversations with Daniel Galemba of DaVita, Inc. An abstract describing this work was accepted for presentation at the American Society for Nephrology Kidney Week, New Orleans, LA, November 2–5, 2017.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

This work was supported by DaVita, Inc. All of the authors are current or former employees of DaVita Clinical Research. SMB’s spouse is an employee of AstraZeneca.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

This retrospective study was conducted using deidentified patient data. As such, it was deemed exempt from institutional review board or ethics committee approval. No research involving animals was performed.

Informed consent

Because the study was conducted using deidentified patient data, informed consent was not required. We adhered to the Declaration of Helsinki.


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Copyright information

© Italian Society of Nephrology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jiacong Luo
    • 1
  • Andrew Lee
    • 1
  • Dena E. Cohen
    • 1
  • Carey Colson
    • 1
  • Steven M. Brunelli
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.DaVita Clinical ResearchMinneapolisUSA

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