Dialysis center coming to Waterloo

An engineer’s rendering of the new dialysis center being built on the Southern Illinois Center for Health campus at 509 Hamacher Street in Waterloo. (submitted photo)

Work has begun on a $2.5 million dialysis center to be built on the Southern Illinois Center for Health campus in Waterloo.

The growing medical complex already includes high tech imaging and surgical facilities in addition to physicians offices, physical therapy and exercise offerings.

SICH Executive Director Bill Rebholz told the Republic-Times that the project received its building permit from the city on Friday. Workers got the word and immediately commenced erecting run-off control silt fences that afternoon. Rough grading to prepare the site kicked off Monday.

The one-story, 8,394-square-foot building will be located east of the existing medical facilities on currently vacant land adjacent to Oak Hill Care Center on Hamacher Street.

An official ground-breaking ceremony is slated for July 2.

The facility will be built by SICH, which will act as landlord, but will be operated by Fresenius Medical Care, one of the nation’s leading dialysis center operators. Fresenius currently operates a small home dialysis office in the SICH building. That element will move to the new building upon its completion.

The center is the only such operation in Monroe County, according to Rebholz, and is a project more than three years in the making.

“Until now, patients have had to go to St. Clair County or St. Louis to meet dialysis needs,” he said. “While availability of health care resources are shrinking in many areas of the country, this signals that it is growing in Monroe County.”

Diabetes and other medicl conditions sometimes damage kidneys so badly that they no longer work. When kidneys fail, the person needs to replace their function with either dialysis or a transplant. Dialysis, the more common form of kidney-replacement therapy, is a way of cleaning the blood with an artificial kidney.

The new center will offer two basic categories of care. In-center dialysis will be performed there by skilled medical personnel with on-site equipment.

The center will also continue to offer training and follow-up treatment for home-based dialysis, including ensuring the patient is comfortable, care is high quality, and then following up to confirm that care is going well.

The home side of the center will also ensure the proper equipment is made available in the homes. Home dialysis allows people to work treatment into their lives versus having to travel and meet a clinic schedule.

The architect is Ottolino, Winters and Heubner, Inc. of St. Louis. The general contractor is R.G. Ross, also of St. Louis, but with the added home flavor that its president, Vince Mannino, lives in Waterloo. R.G. Ross is familiar in the area, having built the courthouse addition, Ss. Peter & Paul School addition, and the surgical center.

Showing the new site to the Republic-Times, Rebholz told how the new extension area for the campus is designed to allow construction of several more medical buildings. He said added roads and parking will support this projected growth.

Rebholz said now that designs are finished and all permits needed are in hand, he expects the facility to be finished and operating before year’s end.

The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board approved project plans for the dialysis center in 2013. Among those submitting letters of support for the project as part of that process were Waterloo Mayor Tom Smith, State Rep. Jerry Costello II and State Sen. Dave Luechtefeld.

“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 stated in his letter.

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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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