Dialysis Center May Grow
By John Emerson
MONTICELLO August 8, 2000 When the Catskill Dialysis and Renal Disease Center opened almost eight years ago in Monticello, the community hailed the event as a major step forward for those who needed dialysis treatment.
Now the dialysis facility is turning away people who need the treatment because they are already operating at a little more than full capacity, according to administrator Janet Kovler. The group has also filed a Certificate of Need application with the New York State Health Department to expand their operations by four additional dialysis stations.
We are in the process of attempting to expand, Kovler said. Right now, were treating about 90 patients and have just added a fourth shift. We want to add four more chairs because we have a waiting list for people who need the service.
Dialysis is a procedure used to cleanse the blood and body of impurities when the kidneys fail to accomplish the task. The whole process must be repeated regularly, normally three times per week on alternate days, or patients become bloated with excess water and can die.
Kovler explained that the process normally takes between three and four hours as the blood is removed and cleaned before being replaced. She defined a shift as the period of time the treatment takes.
The center currently has 14 dialysis stations which are operated six days a week and are full all of the time. This year, many summer visitors in need of dialysis treatment were turned away because there was not room to fit them into the schedule.
Although the fourth shift, which now begins around 7 p.m. and ends at midnight, has been added to relieve some of the pressure, many people find it difficult to arrange their schedules to take advantage of that time slot, she said. Kovler said that she expects that the new shift will still be filled within a short time because of the need.
Before the center opened, Sullivan County residents in need of dialysis treatments were forced to travel to Middletown, Milford, Pa., or Basset Hospital in Cooperstown for treatment. It took several years for the Health Department to issue a certificate of need for the facility.
Kovler said, however, that now that the treatment center is open, the need is more easily established.
Theres a good chance that by late this fall well have the additional chairs in place, she said. Once that happens and with the addition of the fourth shift, we should be in a good position to supply treatment to those who need it.
In addition to the expanded treatment facilities, Kovler, who took over as the centers administrator in May after working there as the dietician for about six and a half years, is also instituting other programs for patients and their families. The first event is a Summerfest picnic in DeHoyos Park, not far from the treatment center in Monticello.
This is something we want to do to try to make this more fun for our patients and their families, she said. Having to undergo dialysis is not the easiest thing to do, and were trying to make it as easy as possible for everyone.