After more than a year of back and forth with Macon County officials and the state Department of Health and Human Services, Macon County is in the home stretch of securing a dialysis center.
In Mid-May, 50 Macon County residents and medical professionals gathered at the Macon County Courthouse to urge state officials to allow DaVita Dialysis Center to develop the dialysis facility in Macon County. Last week, the Certificate of Need Section of the Department of Health and Human Services awarded DaVita the rights to operate in Macon County.
“This is a great day for the families of Macon County,” said County Commissioner Ronnie Beale, who has been an advocate on the forefront of securing a dialysis facility in Macon County since the beginning. “Lots of families have looked forward to this day for a long time. Now the only left to do is for DaVita to pin-point a location for the new facility. It is now up to the provider to get this thing up and going and we will continue to assist them in any way we can to ensure we get this facility opened as soon as possible for the people of Macon County.”
Two companies, Fresenius Medical Care, with Bio-Medical Applications of North Carolina, Inc. and DaVita Dialysis Center with Total Renal Care of North Carolina, LLC, were vying for the rights to construct a dialysis facility in the county, but after moving testimony from residents all in favor of Davita Dialysis Center, the state voted to allow dialysis patients the continuity of care by continuing their treatment with a company they know and trust.
Among the residents and dialysis patients who testified on behalf of DaVita in May was Angel Medical Center’s Chief of Staff, Gus Wilde, who was the first of numerous individuals who pleaded with the state to consider DaVita for Macon County. According to Wilde, the fast and easy access that his patients have because of their existing relationship with DaVita and DaVita's partnership with Mountain Kidney and Hypertension Associates of Asheville is invaluable.
Macon County has been approved for a seven station facility to provide dialysis services to residents.
DaVita Dialysis Center currently operates in Sylva and has serviced patients in Western North Carolina for more than 40 years. Residents in Macon County have continued to travel across Cowee Mountain to the DaVita facility to receive treatment. According to the company’s website, the name DaVita is an adaptation of an Italian phrase meaning, “giving life.”
DaVita’s mission statement reads, “We are becoming the greatest kidney care company the world has ever seen through our commitment to upholding our Mission and Core Values every day, in everything we do.”
According to Beale, Fresenius Medical Care has the option of appealing the state's decsion within 30 days. During May's hearing, the company stated they recognize the dire need in Macon County and vowed they would not appeal the decision in order to let whichever provider the state deemed the best fit the go-head to begin the process of locating a facility. Beale noted that this will hopefully allow the process to be expedited easier and quicker.