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DaVita settles in Federal Way office and plans to add jobs
Kidney dialysis company DaVita Healthcare Partners Inc. moved its accounting and payroll operations to Federal Way — along with 350 jobs and room to grow.
Based in Denver, DaVita is a publicly-traded Fortune 500 company (NYSE:DVA) that claims billionaire investor Warren Buffett as its largest shareholder. Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. owns 15.6 million shares (about 15 percent) of DaVita stock, according to USA Today. DaVita reported $8.186 billion in revenue in 2012.
DaVita serves 160,000 patients at nearly 2,000 kidney dialysis clinics across the U.S. and in nine other nations. Federal Way is already home to a 24-seat dialysis clinic at 1015 S. 348th St.
Located in a remodeled building on the Weyerhaeuser campus, the Federal Way accounting office plans to add at least 50 more jobs in the near future to help handle the entire company's finances.
The Federal Way office measures about 125,000 square feet. The site was selected because of its proximity to Tacoma, therefore minimizing disruption to employees' commutes.
"We were running out of space in downtown Tacoma," said Lin Whatcott, senior director for corporate accounting, on the move to Federal Way in April. "It was fortunate we found this big building that was sitting empty."
Jim Hilger, DaVita's chief accounting officer, told The Mirror last fall that one perk of moving a portion of employees to Federal Way is the lack of a Business and Occupation (B&O) tax. About 550 employees remain at the downtown Tacoma office.
Employees hail from King and Pierce counties. The Federal Way office presents a vibrant atmosphere filled with reminders of the company's core values for service.
One of those values is reflected in the name of the company itself: DaVita means "giving life" in Italian.
DaVita employees also receive permission to spend up to eight paid hours a year on community service projects. In one local example, a team from the tax department helped package school supplies for Federal Way-based World Vision.
About kidney dialysis
Patients suffering from kidney failure either need a transplant or dialysis to stay alive. With kidney dialysis, a machine removes and filters waste from the blood and body. Patients typically undergo dialysis three days a week for an average of four hours per session. Unless they find a kidney transplant, the patients must endure dialysis for life.
DaVita's Federal Way dialysis center serves 146 patients. Of those patients, about 26 self-administer their treatment at home, according to David Natali, regional operations director. Dialysis patients often have other health complications in addition to kidney failure. Life expectancy for dialysis patients is typically seven to 10 years.