According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, West Virginia has the highest mortality rate in the nation for people living with chronic kidney disease (CKD). To address the issue head on, WVU Medicine has entered into an agreement with Interwell Health with the goal of improving the care of patients with kidney disease.

The 21-hospital West Virginia University Health System, which operates under the brand WVU Medicine, is West Virginia’s largest health system and the state’s largest employer with more than 3,000 licensed beds, 4,000 providers, approximately 30,000 employees, and more than $5 billion in total operating revenues.
The Interwell Provider Network now exceeds 1,800 nephrologists across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The company supports 125,000 patients in value-based care agreements with private payers and the government. It contracts with payers in value-based agreements, partnering with physicians to improve the health of their patients while seeking to lower the total cost of care. WVU Medicine nephrologists will join the Interwell network and implement its population health approach to kidney care.

“This partnership with Interwell opens the door to better care for our patients,” said Rebecca Schmidt, D.O., WVU Medicine nephrologist, in a statement. “By approaching kidney disease from a population health perspective, we can use machine learning and other technologies to examine the progression of disease and use that data to implement more effective treatment plans. We understand that progress cannot happen in a vacuum, and Interwell presents the opportunity to collaborate with others on best practices and use this collaboration to help better the lives of West Virginia patients with kidney disease.”

Interwell Health was formed in 2022 by the merger of Fresenius Health Partners, the value-based care division of Fresenius Medical Care North America, with Cricket Health and Interwell Health, a network of nephrologists. Its network has since grown to include more than 1,800 nephrologists. In January 2024, Healthcare Innovation Interviewed George Hart, M.D., Interwell’s chief medical officer, and Carney Taylor, M.D., M.B.A., who leads Eastern Nephrology Associates, a practice with 32 nephrologists in eastern North Carolina and has experience transitioning his practice to value-based care.  

Interwell’s care team includes nurses, dietitians, social workers, and care coordinators that support and educate patients between doctor visits to help slow disease progression. Its predictive models identify patients most at-risk of progression and hospitalizations, while a specialized care team conducts rapid outreach post-discharge to avoid readmissions.

“We are thrilled to welcome this leading group of nephrologists at WVU Medicine to our network and to our mission to reimagine kidney care,” said Terry Ketchersid, M.D., M.B.A., senior vice president at Interwell Health, in a statement. “We are committed to supporting our provider partners with resources that have demonstrated improved outcomes for people living with chronic kidney disease.”



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