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Dialysis Firm, Already In Sanatoga, Adds PMMC Operation

SANATOGA PA – A national chain of kidney dialysis clinics – including one that currently operates in Sanatoga – is advertising this month to hire more dialysis techs and registered nurses for a local expansion, following a deal in which it said it bought a controlling interest in a clinic formerly fully owned and operated by Pottstown Memorial Medical Center (PMMC).

Dialysis Firm, Already In Sanatoga, Adds PMMC Operation

U.S. Renal Care Inc. already operates a kidney dialysis clinic at 5 S. Sunnybrook Rd.

A colorful ad placed by U.S. Renal Care Inc. of Plano TX, re-published Sunday (June 23, 2013) in print and online, seeks qualified technicians to provide hemodialysis therapies to patients in chronic renal (kidney) failure, as well as nurses accustomed to dealing with hemodialysis in acute and chronic settings. Resumes of those interested can be e-mailed to the company, here.

Dialysis removes waste, salt and extra water to prevent them from building up in the body; keeps a safe level of certain chemicals – such as potassium, sodium and bicarbonate – in the blood; and helps to control blood pressure, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Treatments, which are necessary if an individual’s kidneys stop functioning, usually occur three times a week.

U.S. Renal Care’s hiring call follows its announcement late last month that it became majority owner of the clinic inside PMMC, 1600 E. High St., Pottstown PA, under a “joint-venture partnership” with the hospital and unnamed local physicians. A purchase price was not disclosed.

The partnership with PMMC also includes operations of U.S. Renal Care’s existing clinic at 5 S. Sunnybrook Rd. in Sanatoga village, the company said.

The PMMC clinic will be headed by Dr. Sergio Vaisman as medical director, according to the announcement. Dr. Nasrin Ashouin will continue as medical director of the South Sunnybrook Road facility, in Suite 500 of the Sunnybrook Road Professional Offices building. The two sites are separated in distance by only 2/10ths of a mile, about a city block.

There was no immediate indication from the firm or PMMC they would be combined or moved. However, Lower Pottsgrove Township officials earlier this month said a kidney dialysis company, which they did not identify, expressed an interest in locating to the former Rite Aid pharmacy at the corner of East High Street and North Pleasant View Road in Sanatoga.

Vaisman described U.S. Renal Care’s acquisition at PMMC as “an exciting opportunity for the patients of Pottstown and the surrounding communities,” and called himself “privileged to be part of a team” that could bring “some peace of mind” to patients suffering from chronic kidney disease.

“We are excited to build upon our existing relationships in the region to serve a greater number of patients in Southeastern Pennsylvania,” U.S. Renal Care Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Chris Brengard said of the deal. His comments were echoed by PMMC CEO Sharif Omar: “Together, we will meet the growing need for dialysis by offering more resources and improved access to dialysis care.”

The acquisition closed March 31, U.S. Renal Care said. As of that date, the company added, it owned 10 freestanding outpatient dialysis centers across Pennsylvania.

Kidney dialysis has become an increasingly competitive business, medical experts say. In addition to the Pottstown and Sanatoga operations, clinics run by other companies can be found nearby in Limerick, Norristown, and Exton.

Some estimates report the cost of dialysis care at about $1,800 per treatment (about $281,000 per year), of which the foundation said 80 percent is covered by federal reimbursement programs. The remainder might be paid by private health insurance, state Medicaid programs, or the individuals themselves. Nationally, according to the foundation, 26 million American adults have chronic kidney disease and millions of others are at increased risk.

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