Dialysis Center A Symbol Of A Caring Community

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Andy Towle/Roundup - atowle@payson.com

Kay Small makes a trip to Payson from Pine three times a week for treatment at the DaVita Rim Country Dialysis Center located in the Rim Country Health and Retirement Community.

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Andy Towle/Roundup - atowle@payson.com

An average of 8 to 12 patients per day receive treatment at the DaVita Dialysis Center in Payson.

The presence of the DaVita Rim Country Dialysis Center in Payson is a classic example of the care and concern the community’s residents have for one another.

Volunteers from throughout the Rim Country worked for several years to get a dialysis center back in Payson.

The area lost its dialysis center, operated by Renal Care Group, in Jan. 2005.

Working in conjunction with Payson Regional Medical Center and Rim Country Health and Retirement Community, Judy Baker of Mogollon Health Alliance was determined to bring a dialysis center to Payson.

Patients with kidney failure in Rim Country had to travel to a distant dialysis center three times a week.

It takes approximately six hours for a dialysis machine to do the work of a human kidney — cleansing 12 pints of blood. When you add a 2-hour round trip commute to Scottsdale or Phoenix, many patients become slaves to a treatment routine for which there is no escape except to cleanse a patient’s system.

The lack of a dialysis center in Rim Country quickly became a growing concern for patients and health professionals.

As early as April 2005, the effort effort to get a dialysis center was in high gear with multiple needs assessments. A site was already available at RCHRC.

Soon, DaVita came into the picture. It is the leading provider of dialysis services in the U.S. It has more than 1,400 outpatient and acute units in more than 700 hospitals, and serves about 110,000 patients.

The DaVita Rim Country Dialysis Center opened in March 2008. It can care for up to 36 patients, and is open six days a week.

Currently, it is operating two shifts and is gearing up to start a third shift in the near future, according to Dona Morrison, the facility’s administrator. With the two shifts, the center employs two registered nurses, two patient care technicians and a reuse technician. Consultants who come to Payson from DaVita’s central office in the Valley also assist the facility.

“There are seven DaVita centers in the Valley,” Morrison said.

She said the biggest challenge she has found in the Payson facility is its isolation.

“We have to work more independently than the centers in the Valley,” she said.

Another challenge is letting visiting patients know how to find the facility.

During the summer months, part-time residents and visitors can make use of the center if there are openings, Morrison said.

The center is in the Rim Country Health and Retirement Community. To reach it, turn west at the light at the intersection of Highways 87 (the Beeline) and East 260. Stay on the road, which is Longhorn.

There is a stop sign at Longhorn’s intersection with McLane Road, continue west and the RCHRC is the second complex on the left (the first is the Payson Habitat for Humanity Longhorn Village town home development). The dialysis center is in the inner building of the most western structure of RCHRC.

For more information, call DaVita Rim Country Dialysis Center at (928) 474-7000.

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