Case Studies

Mónica Muñoz – DaVita Kidney Care

Life-saving treatments: Elevating kidney care and comfort

DaVita Kidney Care provides several dialysis options for people living with kidney disease: at home, in-center hemodialysis and in-center nocturnal. While the first one occurs in the comfort of a patient’s home and the third while they’re asleep at a care center, the second is perhaps the most taxing for patients. They must visit a center three times a week and will rest for three to four hours at a time while a machine filters their blood to remove toxins.

Mónica Muñoz joined DaVita in 2018 as a portfolio director of facilities management. In January 2021, she was promoted to lead renovations to improve processes and elevate the quality of the care system. She says this allowed her to play a larger role in the organization’s five-year plan to renovate more than half of its over 2,800 locations in the U.S.

Mónica Muñoz | Senior Director, Capital Programs | DaVita Kidney Care

Mónica Muñoz | Senior Director, Capital Programs | DaVita Kidney Care

“Dialysis is necessary for these patients to live and to go about their day as normally as possible—but they must spend several continuous hours at the center for the machines to do the work their kidneys no longer can,” she says. “My team and I are devoted to improving facilities to enhance the environment and enable our amazing caregivers to make the patient experience a positive and pleasant one.”

She helped develop this five-year plan, which began around the time she was hired at DaVita. The aim was to standardize clinic conditions and ensure each location matches DaVita’s vision of the type of care, experience and environment it wants to provide, not just to patients but to teammates and medical professionals as well.

“Our maxim is ‘A community first. A company second,’” Muñoz says. “People are the center of everything we do.”

The architect of prioritizing plans

On average, each DaVita facility is about 8,200 square feet and can treat 16-24 patients at a time. Each year, over 55,000 team members, including medical professionals, take care of more than 200,000 patients with DaVita operating over 350 centers in 11 countries.

Muñoz ensures the environment is as comfortable and welcoming as possible at each U.S. facility. While she is dedicated to various other capital improvements in her role—new equipment rollouts and strategic replacement of assets such as heating, ventilation and air condition systems, LED lighting, parking lots and roofs—the five-year renovation plan has remained her top priority.

Prior to the plan launching 2018, the facilities team assessed the entire U.S portfolio and categorized the sites into three buckets: those requiring major overhauls or complete renovations, those in need of some upgrades and those already meeting DaVita’s standards. She explains this allowed for clinic prioritization and why the work on over 1,400 sites was achieved according to the plan by the end of 2022.

Mónica Muñoz | Senior Director, Capital Programs | DaVita Kidney Care

“Our goal was to touch those clinics in most need of attention first, while also upgrading others to enhance our portfolio,” she says.

Muñoz also maintained an emphasis on interior design throughout, so the architecture and space were used at their optimum potential with improved layouts where needed. She also ensured each location was consistent in its finishes, like paint colors, flooring and millwork.

Since graduating in 1992 from The University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s in interior design with an emphasis on architecture, she’s dedicated her career to the lifecycle of a physical asset, from its birth through design and planning to construction, maintenance, renovation and even demolition when necessary. She is also registered as an interior designer in Texas.

“I am proficient in multisite program execution and managing the health of a portfolio of assets, which I have loved doing for DaVita the past five years,” Muñoz says. “We also have a facilities team which concentrates on maintaining all of our hard work for our teammates and patients.”

Filtering out redundancies and differences

In 2018, Muñoz began working on the centralization of requests and execution of repairs across DaVita’s thousands of clinics, a task made even more imperative by the upcoming five years of renovations. In 2015, the team implemented a digital work order system, allowing each clinic to track its requests and to increase visibility of all needs across the enterprise. The system automatically sends requests to either an internal technician or outside vendor.

In fact, centralization of facilities management was one of the reasons Muñoz was hired.

“We didn’t have a central facilities team until 2015 and before that, each of the 2,700 locations at the time were functioning autonomously,” she recalls.

As of summer 2023, her team has replaced thousands of singular clinic systems and processes with ones that are standardized organization wide. In fact, she redeveloped her current role when she became the senior director of capital programs in December 2022; she believed this change would allow her to oversee various matters and thus, with a bird’s eye view, quickly find and implement resolutions for issues across DaVita’s clinics, physical plants or any other assets, including replacements.

Mónica Muñoz | Senior Director, Capital Programs | DaVita Kidney Care

A major driver and motivation for her work is knowing the impact it’ll have not just on patients but her colleagues and other DaVita teammates. Muñoz says the intentional culture of diversity and belonging drew her to the organization.

“Being a good steward is one evaluation component of our annual performance review and is called the DaVita Way,” she says. “DaVita is dedicated to the wellbeing of teammates and patients alike.”

This includes wellness programs for team members, like a free subscription to the Headspace App with live meditations or scholarships to earn a nursing degree. Such a workspace is a perfect fit for Muñoz, who is currently an individual and support group leader for the National Ministry for the Bereaved, a choir member for the National Association of Pastoral Musicians and a volunteer for several other organizations and associations.

In the same way she’s focused on sharing her knowledge, expertise and life experience, DaVita aims to educate patients on their options for dialysis and other treatments, so patients can make the best choice and have the best experience possible.

“The DaVita facilities team and I are not just maintaining all of our physical assets but working hard to ensure they surpass the standards DaVita has set for itself, so our teammates can continue providing optimum—and as comfortable as possible under the circumstances—conditions for patient care, safety and an overall positive experience,” Muñoz says. “DaVita means to give life and that pushes us to daily to innovate and go beyond our best for everyone involved.”

View this feature in the Blueprint Vol. VIII 2023 Edition here.

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