Residents in Payson in need of dialysis treatment will soon be able to get relief right in town, instead of traveling to the Valley for a service that could spell life or death.
The new dialysis center will open its doors to patients after getting certification from Medicare, maybe in as soon as a month, said Louise Gifford, Regional Director for the renal care group DaVita.
It is the first dialysis treatment facility offering treatment to Payson's renal patients since the Payson Renal Care Group shut down in December 2004.
The clinic shut down due to ongoing financial troubles, said company officers.
The new Rim Country Dialysis Center in Payson, capable of treating 36 patients, will have an open house Thursday, Jan. 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Rim Country Health and Retirement Community at 807 W. Longhorn Dr.
Food, a ribbon-cutting ceremony, tours of the new facility and a chance to meet and visit with the staff will be offered during the open house.
The open house honors local radio personality Don Holcombe who died in 2006 from diabetes complications.
A cumulative donor wall for the names of all who donate money to the facility will be unveiled during the open house.
Gifford said the center already has 24 seats taken by area dialysis patients, but that the remaining 12 seats aren't expected to last long since this will be the only renal care treatment center closer than Phoenix.
"We have a registered nurse already signed on, and all of our dialysis technicians are certified," Said Gifford.
The road to getting a new dialysis treatment facility in Payson hasn't been easy, she said.
"It's been a couple of years trying to get this to happen," said Gifford.
"DaVita spent more than $600,000 to get it done, and Mogollon Health Alliance has pledged $150,000 to help cover the cost of patient needs over the next five years."
Failing eyesight caused by diabetes and other kidney disease prevents many patients from driving to the Valley for dialysis; most kidney patients are on fixed incomes, and can't afford private transportation; and home dialysis options have limitations -- one requires visits, not covered under Medicare, by a certified renal practitioner, and to qualify for the other dialysis system, patients must meet stringent health guidelines.
For more information call the Mogollon Health Alliance at 472-2588.
"When we first open the facility in about a month, we will only serve two patients, until Medicare has a chance to inspect the facility and observe actual treatment, then once we get certification, we'll be able to serve all of our patients," said Gifford.