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Whistleblower alleges DaVita, Fresenius paid kickbacks

Fresenius flags fly in front of the Fresenius headquarters building.
Fresenius is one of the largest U.S. dialysis providers. Photo: Arne Dedert/picture alliance via Getty Images

A whistleblower lawsuit alleges dialysis giants DaVita and Fresenius padded their profits by donating money to the American Kidney Fund charity, which in turn subsidized patients' premiums as a way to steer them toward insurance plans that pay the dialysis firms particularly well, Bloomberg reports.

The big picture: The Department of Justice did not intervene in the lawsuit, and the companies did not immediately respond for comment. But the lawsuit reignites the debate of whether this technically legal practice is a violation of anti-kickback law, and when the federal government will propose another rule to clear the air.