The shrinking workforce problem faced by many of the area’s businesses has led to DaVita Rim Country Dialysis’ decision to close.
Rim Country Dialysis released the following statement regarding the closure:
“We recently made the difficult decision to close our center, after nearly a year of exploring options that might keep the doors open. We have supported this community since 2008, and this is not a decision we took lightly. Keeping care available in rural areas like ours is a challenge all health care providers face.
“Our top priority is the health and well-being of our patients. We are working with each patient to find the best treatment option for their continued care. For some, that means treating in the comfort of their own home — reducing the need to travel to a dialysis center.”
The center will close on Aug. 31. Treatment options include DaVita Fountain Hills Dialysis, DaVita Cottonwood Dialysis, Fresenius North Scottsdale Dialysis, Fresenius Cottonwood Dialysis and Fresenius Winslow Dialysis. More information on treating at home is available online at davita.com. Instead of going to a center three times a week, home dialysis patients typically visit once a month.
Having to travel for dialysis is a concern area residents have expressed.
One said in a Facebook post, “This is going to cause a huge problem for a lot of people who don’t have transportation or the gas money to travel back and forth several times a week for treatment.”
The individual went on to ask people to reach out to DaVita and make a formal complaint to the company and ask them to remain open. To contact DaVita call 800-400-8331, hit option 6 and then option 1.
Jack Burns contacted the Roundup directly about the closure. He said he had a friend that used the local DaVita facility. Traveling for treatment is really not an option as his friend is disabled and cannot afford to pay for transportation to another facility.
The nearest facility is in Cottonwood. Many people could die due to lack of dialysis, he said.
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 January 2005.
Working with Payson Regional Medical Center and Rim Country Health, the Mogollon Health Alliance (Foundation) was determined to bring a dialysis center to Payson. For several years, funds from the MHA Black & White Ball were set aside to finance a dialysis center for the area.
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 two-hour round trip commute to Scottsdale or Phoenix, many patients become slaves to a treatment routine for which there is no escape.
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 to get a dialysis center was in high gear with multiple needs assessments. A site was already available at Rim Country Health.
Soon, DaVita came into the picture. At the time it was the leading provider of dialysis services in the U.S. It had 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. At the time, it could care for up to 36 patients, and was open six days a week.
Initially it operated two shifts. According to Dona Morrison, the facility’s administrator at the time said, “The biggest challenge at the Payson facility is its isolation. We have to work more independently than the centers in the Valley.”
The Roundup reached out to the administration of the Banner Payson Medical Center to ask if it was considering stepping in to fill the gap in care that will be created when DaVita closes its doors here. Banner Media responded, “Banner will continue to refer and direct patients to the nearest provider facility.”