Denison, Iowa explores the need for a dialysis center - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Denison, Iowa explores the need for a dialysis center

This is the location they would like to house the new center. This is the location they would like to house the new center.

If you're sick, you probably go to the doctor. But, certain kinds of illnesses need to be treated on a weekly basis.

Patients who've gone through various stages of kidney failure and who rely on dialysis to survive can't go to Crawford County Memorial Hospital or any of their clinics in Dension, Iowa right now. Instead, they are forced to leave town and travel to places like Harlan, Carroll, or Onawa for treatment.

"The medicare program cannot cover even the gasoline costs for these patients, and it becomes very, very significant in their budgets," Crawford County Memorial Hospital CEO and President Bill Bruce said.

"They have to go like three times a week. And, it doesn't matter what the weather is. They have to go or they die," Crawford County Memorial Hospital Board Member Carol Swanson said.

That's why Swanson has been involved with the dialysis task force, convincing others of the city's need for their own dialysis center.

"I just became interested in the patients' stories themselves. You just become compassionate about their problems," Swanson said.

Swanson said creating a dialysis center has been discussed for more than a decade. And, this is a problem she says needs to be addressed now.

"It looks like everything is in our favor now and I hope it keeps that way. The community is very positive about it," Swanson said.

Bruce said after conducting research with Fresenius, a company that offers dialysis care across the United States, they've seen the real need for it with about 60 patients in their immediate area requiring care.

"We've got to start slowly and build the program. And, I think the concern is that with the number of end stage renal disease patients, 'will we be able to keep up the demand for this service locally,'" Bruce said.

But, starting conservatively will allow them to build up the center.

They expect Fresenius to cover about 80-percent of the cost at around $700,000 and about 20-percent of it, or $140,000, will be covered by local funds from the hospital.

The hospital has already chosen a location at the City Center Clinic in Denison, Iowa to house the new facility.

At the hospital's next meeting, Monday night, officials said the board will have to take action on the dialysis center.

And, if it passes, then Bruce said it will take a few months to get all the construction done, and technology in place before it can open.

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