DaVita Renal Social Workers
”A renal social worker is a support person for patients both before and after they start dialysis. Social workers are highly educated and trained to help patients and their families. Utilizing great case management background skills, they provide support in all areas of our patients' lives including emotional, financial, career, lifestyle adjustment and more. Social workers help patients adjust to life on dialysis. Informing patients about kidney disease and their treatment options (dialysis and kidney transplant), helps them understand what is happening to their bodies so they can make informed decisions about their care. Our social workers possess great teamwork skills, as they work with other members of the dialysis team to coach them about the emotional aspects of dialysis, and how to interact with patients and fellow teammates in a positive and professional way. They also assist their teams by presenting an accurate picture of all the patient’s needs, so informed decisions will be made regarding the patient's health and well-being.” –DaVita Website
- Must have a clinical Master’s Degree in Social Work
- Must have and keep a current Associate Clinical Social Worker (ASW) registration
- Expected to become Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) within five years of employment
- One year of experience in medical field; Two years preferred
- Demonstrated knowledge of government and private insurance programs
- Basic computer skills in MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook as well as functional proficiency with DaVita specific applications within 60 days
What is your medical social work strength?
- Assessments: Each patient needs an initial, 90-Day and Annual Assessment to be completed by each profession in Interdisciplinary Team (IDT). Sometimes patients are considered “unstable” and need additional assessments. CMS requires SWs see patients face-to-face at least once a quarter.
- Screenings: PHQ-2 is used for depression screening every 6 months and PHQ-9 is used if score is 3 or higher; Kidney Disease Quality of Life (KDQOL) screening administered & reviewed with patient and then IDT team
- Patient Education: Patients must be educated about transplant, modality options, advance directives and vocational rehabilitation at least annually. SW assists IDT with Lobby Days as often as once per month. Lobby Days is a DaVita term for extra patient education on a chosen topic.
- General Counseling: SWs cannot provide therapy to patients, even if they are licensed practitioners. However, SWs can provide general counseling, grief counseling and crisis management for patients and teammates.
- DaVita Rx: Patients can sign up and have most of their medications (even non-dialysis meds) delivered to them in-center during treatment
- Transportation: SW can provide referrals but cannot choose, recommend or set up transportation for patients
- Transplant: Any member of the IDT, the patient or the nephrologist can request that SW make a referral to transplant program; There are different eligibility criteria for each program
- Basic Needs: SW continually assesses for patient needs and makes various referrals to food banks, emergency shelter and/or government assistance (Food Stamps, WIC, Cash Aid, Social Security, Disability, IHSS, etc.)
- Mental Health: SW continually assesses for depression and mental health needs and makes appropriate referrals
- APS Reports (and occasionally CFS): Although all teammates are mandated reporters, SW can help assess for possible abuse and assist teammates in filing and calling in reports of suspected abuse
- Financial Assistance: The most common financial assistance program is through the American Kidney Fund (AKF). They can pay out of pocket expenses for insurance premiums, assist with extraneous transplant costs (transportation, housing, etc.), provide some emergency funds, etc. DaVita has its own patient financial assistance program (PFE) which assists with the cost of dialysis billed directly by DaVita. Other common programs are RenAssist (helps offset the cost of Renvella binders) and other programs for medications. LIS is a federal program that assists Medicare patients with the cost of prescriptions.
- Insurance options: SWs and Insurance Specialists work together to assist patient with securing adequate insurance; Public insurance only covers 80% of treatment
- Letters: SWs can write letters of concern to the patient who misses treatment on a regular basis. They can also write letters on behalf of the patient to use for proof of medical hardship for Jury Duty, jobs, disability, etc.
- If ASW but not LCSW, SW must attend monthly supervision to count toward licensure hours (6 hours+ drive time)
- Quarterly Social Worker meeting, per DaVita (6 hours+ drive time)
- Securing Wins and Gains (SWAG): Insurance counselor meets with SW and Facility Administrator once per month to discuss insurance needs, update AKF log and discuss retention of private pay patients (30-60 minutes)
- IDT/Core Team: Bi-weekly meeting with PD RN, FA, AA, SW, RD to discuss various goals as outlined by DaVita and CMS policy (1-2 hours)
- Facility Health Meeting (FHM/FHR): Monthly meeting with PD RN, FA, AA, Medical Director, SW, RD to discuss metrics as outlined by DaVita and CMS policy (2-3 hours)
- System Targeted Interventions (STI)/ Empowering Patient Program (EPP): an evidence based practice model that SWs can utilize to focus on patient goals; most commonly used for patients who miss or shorten treatments often
- Kidney Smart Educators: Not all SWs become Certified Kidney Smart Educators; Must schedule one class per month and actually teach one class per quarter to stay certified; Attend webinars and quarterly meetings
- Patient Morale: SW assists with patient morale such as holiday gifts, birthday celebrations, etc.
- Training: SWs participate in ongoing in-person and online education and training offered through DaVita, NASW, the community, etc. SWs must undergo annual compliance training in topics such as infection control, emergency preparedness and HIPAA regulations
- Hi-Desert Clinic Specific: Bi-weekly SW newsletter; Rounding every patient every week; Missed treatment clarifications; Therapy cat visits
Working at DaVita has many perks. Their options for health and other benefits range, which makes choosing the right benefit plan easy. DaVita is a for-profit company and employees can purchase stock in the company, share in bonuses and elect 401K matching. Social Workers can enjoy flexible schedules of part-time/full-time/float and an option of working a traditional 9-5, Monday through Friday schedule or 10 hour days for 4 days per week, like me. Supervision hours toward licensing begin right away, are paid for by DaVita and if you have to drive further than your normal commute for any training, DaVita will pay you mileage. Many trainings are out of the state and include room & board while you're gone.
Social Work Financial Comparison
Type of Social Worker
National Average Salary
Medical Social Worker
Child and Family Social Worker
School Social Worker
Geriatric Social Worker
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (General)
If you would like to learn more about MSW jobs at DaVita visit their website at: DaVita Career Website.
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