The East Valley’s only kidney dialysis center run by a privately held company is expected to treat hundreds of patients in the coming months, a company spokesman said.
Southwest Kidney Dialysis, a 24-station dialysis treatment center in Tempe, opened earlier this month and is accepting patients for peritoneal treatment and hemodialysis, the two basic cleansing methods.
The treatment center is a branch of Southwest Kidney Institute, a full-service kidney disease management company owned by 20 nephrologists and based in a 25,000-squarefoot office adjacent to the new dialysis center on Warner Road.
"We’re the only full-service kidney treatment center in the East Valley that is physicianowned," said Jeff Weintraub, chief executive officer.
Two other centers, one in Sun City and another in Casa Grande, are each owned and operated by a single doctor.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, one in nine Americans has kidney disease, including an estimated 3,500 in the Valley who are afflicted with end-stage renal disease.
Early stage victims of kidney failure may treat the disease without mechanical blood cleansing. However, end-stage patients require either peritoneal treatment and/or hemodialysis, or a kidney transplant, according to the foundation.
Peritoneal treatment involves the use of a standing IV pole that fills a patient’s stomach with fluid, which is then drained into a plastic bag and dumped. It is portable and can be used away from the dialysis center — at home, the office or virtually anywhere.
Hemodialysis patients must undergo the cleansing at least three times each week for about four hours each time at the center using a needle to access the patient’s blood, which is pumped through a filter.
Except for the new private center, major kidney dialysis services are provided nationally and in Arizona by the publicly owned Davita and the German-owned Fresenius Medical Care, a company that is purchasing investor-owned Renal Care Group.
"Very few facilities offer what we do," said Bhupinder Singh, one of the 20 physicians who owns Southwest Kidney Institute and the new treatment center in Tempe.
Singh said the Southwest Kidney Institute plans to open four more treatment facilities in the Valley by next year.
There are 50 patients on the waiting list at the Tempe center and several have already begun treatment, such as Robert Watson, 50, of Chandler, who suffers from polycystic kidney disease, also known as enlarged kidneys.
"(Technicians and doctors) went over everything with me," said Watson, who also meets with dieticians at the new facility as part of his treatment.