A new dialysis center is planned to open this summer in Enid.

Jake Brownlow, western Oklahoma regional director of operations for DaVita Inc., said the company plans to open a new dialysis center, possibly by the end of June. The facility, currently under renovation, will be at 204 S. Van Buren, in the space previously occupied by Family Video.

At the end of 2016 DaVita reported operating or providing administrative services at 2,350 outpatient dialysis centers nationwide, serving approximately 188,000 patients, as well as 154 outpatient dialysis centers in 11 other countries, according to the company’s website.

Brownlow said DaVita currently has more than 40 dialysis centers in Oklahoma, and the planned Enid facility will be a 12-chair unit capable of serving 40-50 patients.

DaVita plans to conduct its first dialysis treatment in Enid by the end of June, but it may take some time for the facility to be operating at full capacity, Brownlow said.

“In the dialysis world we have to have a state certification before we can bill Medicare, and roughly 90 percent of our patients are on Medicare,” Brownlow said. “Once they certify us we will be able to be opened full-time.”

Brownlow said the Medicare certification process can take six months to a year. During that process DaVita will be able to treat dialysis patients, but will not be able to bill for Medicare patients until the state certification is complete.

Brownlow said DaVita tries to acquire patients with commercial medical insurance to build business while the Medicare certification process is pending.

In other markets, DaVita has relied on relationships with hospitals to provide patients with commercial insurance. It is the hope of such a collaborative agreement that, in part, attracted DaVita to Enid.

Brownlow said DaVita entered into discussions with Integris Bass Baptist Health Center before planning its new Enid facility, though DaVita does not have any formal agreement with Integris.

“Enid was a market we had not been in, and we had had some discussions and relationship with Integris, and we felt this community was in need of dialysis services from DaVita,” Brownlow said. “We have had a lot of discussions with Integris, about trying to reduce the readmission of dialysis patients to their facility. If we can keep those patients in dialysis by working with the hospitals, we’re reducing the cost of health care and also helping keep patients healthier.”

“Integris is excited to learn that there will soon be an additional access point for dialysis patients in Enid and Northwest Oklahoma,” said Catherine Gann, director of foundation and business development for Integris Bass Baptist Health Center.

“Integris is always open to discuss partnerships with other health care providers,” Gann said, “and we look forward to learning more about the DaVita dialysis center.”

Brownlow said DaVita has not yet entered into discussions with St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, but DaVita has worked in other markets with Universal Health Services, which is the parent company of St. Mary’s.

St. Mary’s director of marketing Lori Boyd said St. Mary’s did not wish to comment on the DaVita dialysis center, or any potential collaborative service agreement.

DaVita already has hired an administrator for the new facility. The administrator is expected to hire a nurse and patient care technician prior to this summer’s opening.

Hiring will grow from there, Brownlow said, based on facility demand.

“Once the center grows in patient census, the facility will likely have 10 teammates supporting operations from the clinical staff side,” Brownlow said, “along with social workers, dietitians and biomedical engineers.”

Story provided by Enid News & Eagle

Written by:  James Neal