DaVita’s Javier Rodriguez aims to improve quality of life for dialysis patients

Javier Rodriguez
(Graphic by David La Cava/Image courtesy of DaVita)

Javier Rodriguez, CEO, DaVita, Inc.

Age: 50

Education: Rodriguez holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and marketing from Boston College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

About him: As CEO of DaVita, Rodriguez has overseen progress in efforts to expand home treatment options and support for kidney transplant patients.

The COVID-19 pandemic served as a catalyst for telehealth adoption in the organization’s home dialysis program, as more than 60% of patients used a telehealth appointment at some point within the past year.

DaVita’s home dialysis growth outpaced in-center dialysis growth by more than five times during the pandemic, allowing patients to reduce their exposure risks—a critical consideration for patients who are often immunocompromised and have no option to go without dialysis.

DaVita also implemented and strengthened programs tailored to employees’ needs throughout the pandemic, including childcare support, free counseling and other mental health resources.

In addition to his role at DaVita, Rodriguez serves as a member of the boards of directors for Gilead Sciences and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. He recently signed the CEO Action Pledge for Diversity and Inclusion, along with 549 other business leaders.

First job: Bussing tables.

Proudest accomplishment: “I’m proud of the work we do at DaVita. It’s an honor to work alongside more than 65,000 teammates who’ve dedicated themselves to improving the lives of our patients.”

Problem he’s most passionate about trying to solve: “I’m steadfast in my commitment to addressing the holistic needs of patients with kidney failure and transforming the care experience. We’re exploring innovative solutions to better address early stages of kidney failure, improving education and tools that support our patients at every point in their journey and investing in long-term solutions to support patients through kidney transplantation.”

Book he would recommend to other healthcare leaders: The Art of a Good Life, by Rolf Dobelli.

Advice he would give his younger self: “Don’t worry about being the smartest person in the room. Develop a good work ethic, and you can outwork many people. That’s where I pride myself on my leadership style today.”

What he’d do with his career if it wasn’t this: “When I first graduated from business school, I thought I’d become a consultant or an investment banker. But when I met some of the leaders at Total Renal Care, DaVita’s predecessor, I was impressed by their passion and ability to make a difference in people’s lives. I was excited to have my work matter, and now, I often remind myself of the privilege I have to make an impact on this world.”

Biggest lesson so far from the global pandemic: “The value of collaboration. We’re better when we come together. Over the past year, DaVita and other providers in the kidney care community came together to treat all dialysis patients, regardless of where they usually treat, to help keep them safe and out of the hospital. By uniting, we could help the most vulnerable among us as well as do our part in helping reduce the burden on hospitals during the height of COVID-19.”

DaVita’s Javier Rodriguez aims to improve quality of life for dialysis patients