New reports by ProPublica, an investigative news organization, and The Atlantic indicates that lapses in cleanliness and safety are common in U.S. dialysis centers. The reports are based on previously unreleased data collected from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The goal of the investigation was to find out why the United States spends more than virtually any other country per dialysis patient, yet has one of the highest mortality rates of dialysis patients worldwide.

The investigators reviewed inspection records of more than 1,500 clinics from New York to California. In nearly half of the centers, "dirty or unsafe conditions, including dried blood on treatment chairs, walls, and floors, were noted," said the report.

"While the report found a number of possible contributing factors impacting the outcome of patients on dialysis, obviously, cross contaminationis always a concern in any health care setting," says Michael Schaffer, a senior executive with Tacony Corp.'s commercial floor-care division, which includes such brands as Tornado Industries and CFR Corp.

To help reduce cross-contamination in dialysis as well as all medical settings, Schaffer recommends "heightened sanitizing and disinfecting procedures of all surfaces."

In addition, enhanced floor care is criticalin dialysis and all health care settings, particularly since floors are subjected to spills, leaks, and body fluids that can spread disease. However, this can be difficult because many treatment rooms are small or congested with medical equipment.