Dialysis center closer to reality

A project already more than three years in the making, Monroe County moved a significant step forward in the development of a dialysis center in Waterloo.

The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board late last month approved project plans for a Fresenius Medical Center facility proposed on the current Southern Illinois Medical Development Corporation campus at 509 Hamacher Street in Waterloo.

This campus already features an imaging center, surgical center and multi-specialty clinic.

SIMDC Executive Director Bill Rebholz said that if everything works out in terms of a lease and construction plans, this new dialysis center could start serving patients, who require four-hour visits a few times each week, sometime in 2014.

“It’s still not a done deal, but we’re very optimistic,” Rebholz told the Republic-Times. “This (review board approval) was a critical step in the path. There is much to do yet.”

The dialysis center would be built on the east side of the current campus, adjacent to Oak Hill Care Center, he added.

Currently, local patients have the option of using Fresenius home dialysis services. But those who cannot or do not  wish to dialyze must travel to Belleville, St. Louis or elsewhere for treatment.

Rebholz was quick to give credit to Waterloo Mayor Tom Smith and other public officials for lending strong support in this multi-year endeavor.

“We couldn’t have gotten this far without them, that’s for sure,” Rebholz said.

Mayor Smith stated in his letter of support on the project that especially due to the recent opening of new senior living communities in Waterloo, this dialysis center would provide a service of need to residents.

“Fresenius Medical Care would be a welcomed business partner and also would serve the medical needs of our residents,” Smith stated. “With an increasing number of seniors and their family members required to commute to St. Louis for dialysis, this facility would provide a positive alternative to our citizens not offered by other facilities in either Red Bud or Sauget.”

State Senator Dave Luechtefeld and State Representative Jerry Costello II also submitted letters of support for this project.

“With the rise of diabetes nationwide and the increased need for dialysis, this facility would give (local) residents the opportunity to receive treatment (closer to) home,” Costello said.

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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