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Dialysis center moving from hospital to Jenkins




Thomas Roark, 38, of Kingscreek, has been going to the dialysis center in Whitesburg for the past two months. He said he will have no problem transferring to Jenkins when the new facility is finished and open. (Photo by Sally Barto)

Thomas Roark, 38, of Kingscreek, has been going to the dialysis center in Whitesburg for the past two months. He said he will have no problem transferring to Jenkins when the new facility is finished and open. (Photo by Sally Barto)

The DaVita corporation has announced it is building a new dialysis center in the Gateway Industrial Park in Jenkins and will relocate its local operations there.

Scott Wagstaff, DaVita regional operations director, confirmed the dialysis program now located on the campus of Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) will relocate there in spring.

“The relocation is going to serve the patients much better,” said Wagstaff. “Overall, we feel like it is going to be positive for our current patients and any new patients.”

Wagstaff said the new building will be about 5,500 square feet, with about onethird more space in the clinic area. Ease of access for patients and space are the primary reasons for the new building, he said.

“Just the physical size of the unit will be better,” said Wagstaff. “There really is not room to grow and expand in our current location.”

Wagstaff said the new building will have more offi ce space for social services and a dietician. The number of hemodialysis stations will remain at 10.

“When you have a loss of kidney function, dialysis removes impurities from the blood that the kidney would normally remove,” he said. “Blood is taken out of the patient’s body, run through the dialyzer and back into the patient’s body.”

Once in the new location, DaVita will begin to offer peritoneal dialysis, which is a less common type of dialysis that uses the peritoneum in the abdomen. Peritoneal dialysis is done at home and the patient comes to the center a couple of times a month for checkups.

“It allows a lot more flexibility,” said Wagstaff. “It has to be a therapy that will work for that patient.”

DaVita, a Fortune 500 company based in Denver, Colo., prefers buildings that are ground level because of the amount of water that is used for dialysis.

“In our business, we deal with a lot of water,” said Wagstaff.

He said if dialysis centers are located on a second level, unfortunate leaks could occur on levels located underneath. The dialysis center in Whitesburg is on the second floor and a rehabilitation unit is located on the first floor.

“I have no place to put them on ground level,” said Whitesburg ARH Community CEO Dena Sparkman. “They have grown to where they need their own space. This is a way of retaining the service in Letcher County by improving the space the patients are going to be in.”

The lease agreement with ARH expires in the end of 2012.

DaVita acquired the Whitesburg dialysis center in December 2004, which is the only dialysis center in Letcher County. Two dialysis centers are located in Pikeville. One is in Hazard and one is in Norton, Va.

About 30 patients receive dialysis three times a week at the Whitesburg location.

Thomas Roark, 38, of Kingscreek, has been going to the dialysis center for the past two months. For Roark, dialysis takes about three hours and 45 minutes each visit. Roark said he can tell a huge difference in his quality of health since he has been receiving dialysis treatments.

“I feel a whole lot better,” said Roark.

Roark said the change in location will not make much difference for him. He will make the drive to Jenkins three days a week when the center moves to Jenkins.

The new site, which consists of an acre of land, is located near the front of the industrial site.

The floor plan has been approved and architects are in the design phase. Ground will be broken in the next six to eight weeks and the facility should be completed by April, said Wagstaff.

Nationwide, DaVita serves about 150,000 at 1,884 dialysis centers.


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