PITTSBURG — The ribbon has finally been cut for DaVita Hopefield Dialysis in Pittsburg.

On Tuesday, the clinic had its long-awaited ribbon cutting at its facility at 2425 S. Rouse.

The building originally opened in 2016, however, the clinic needed to be certified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services End-Stage Renal Disease to serve people with Medicare and Medicaid.  

The survey by the organization prompted a two-year wait, which ended in May 2018. DaVita Hopefield Dialysis Facility Administrator and Nurse Sue Emmert said this length of time is not unusual for Kansas dialysis clinics and is also a nation-wide issue.

Dialysis patients often also face diabetes and hypertension, which are common in southeast Kansas, Emmert said. Many of these people are on medicare or medicaid.

Emmert said CMS is short on staff and are working to reach all clinics. The length of time can vary from 30 to 60 days up to three years for some clinics.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment Director of the Health Facilities Program Jim Perkins said, “CMS issued new tier priority guidance raising the priority for dialysis to receive initial certifications from Tier IV to Tier 1.

“Other provider types that have the option of using an accreditation organization for initial certification are prioritized as Tier IV, that is not the case for dialysis clinics and they will be bumped to the front of the line,” he said. “Hospitals, Surgical Centers and other provider types will remain Tier IV. Other survey requirements regarding dialysis centers expanding/adding services or relocating are also significantly reduced.
“Assuming staffing levels are sufficient this will speed up initial certification survey activity.”

The clinic on Rouse is the second in Pittsburg, the Fresenius Kidney Care Pittsburg Midwest opened over a decade ago, and is located at 2824 N. Broadway Street.

Often, Emmert said, time slots at clinics are full and other clinics are miles away from a patient’s home. Having another option could allow a patient to have their treatment at a time and place which is convenient for them.

Retired nurse, Mary Cashero came to the open house out of curiosity after watching the construction of the building two years ago.

“I’ve never seen inside a dialysis center,” she said.

Cashero said she knows a lot of people who need dialysis, and having an opportunity to see how everything works allows for a better understanding of her friends’ condition.

Erin Fletcher, director of grants and development for Special Olympics, was present during the ribbon cutting with plans to help connect Special Olympics athletes with additional resources, along with educational material or programs from which they could benefit.

The opening of the clinic is not only beneficial for the patients, but also university students, Emmert said.

Pittsburg State University School of Nursing Instructor Debbi Fischer said she plans to encourage her gerontology nursing students to visit the dialysis center because, “it’s not something the students see often.”

“They will not only experience the equipment, but also the one-on-one communication that is needed,” Fischer said. “It will help them understand what patients or clients are going through.

“A lot of nursing is communication and it would be great for them to experience it first hand.”

Renal disease

According to the National Kidney Foundation and the latest U.S. Renal Data System Annual Data Report, more than 660,000 Americans are being treated for kidney failure. “Of these, 468,000 are dialysis patients and more than 193,000 have a functioning kidney transplant,” the NKF website reads.  

Kidney disease, also known as chronic kidney disease, “causes more deaths than breast cancer or prostate cancer” and is “under-recognized in public health crisis,” the foundation’s website said.

It is the 9th leading cause of death in the United States and with the increasing rates of diabetes and high blood pressure it is, “on the rise and is an urgent issue,” NKF said.

Risk Factors

Risk factors for chronic kidney disease are: diabetes; high blood pressure; family history of kidney failure; age 60 or older; and minority populations that have high rates of diabetes or high blood pressure, such as African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans. The prevalence among African Americans is roughly three times higher than whites, and nearly 1.5 times higher for Hispanics. Asians and Native Americans have a prevalence higher than whites.

(This information was provided by the National Kidney Foundation)

Symptoms of chronic kidney disease
Most people may not have any severe symptoms until their kidney disease is advanced. However, you may notice that you:
feel more tired and have less energy
have trouble concentrating
have a poor appetite
have trouble sleeping
have muscle cramping at night
have swollen feet and ankles
have puffiness around your eyes, especially in the morning
have dry, itchy skin
need to urinate more often, especially at night.

(This information was provided by the National Kidney Foundation)

Treatment options

The main types of dialysis for people facing kidney issues are hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.

At DaVita, during a hemodialysis treatment a machine and a filter are used to remove waste products and water from the blood. The patient should expect a four hour treatment for three days a week at the facility. DaVita offers seating which comes with heated, reclining abilities and a television right at the chair.

Fresenius Kidney Care Pittsburg Midwest offers only hemodialysis, however, their Joplin and Fort Scott locations offer peritoneal training at their respective locations. Nurses travel from Joplin or Fort Scott  to care for the peritoneal patients at the Pittsburg location outside of the training.

DaVita Hopefield Dialysis Facility Administrator and Nurse Sue Emmert said people may opt to select peritoneal dialysis because they would not have to travel to the clinic as often. She said patients at the DaVita clinic are given a private room where trained professionals teach them how to do the treatment. The treatment uses a fluid called dialysate which is placed into the patient's abdominal cavity to remove waste products and fluid from the body.

Emmert said some area nephrologists have privileges at the facility.

For more information, people may contact Davita Guest Services number at 1-866-475-7757 or Emmert at 620-231-0656.

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.