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Dialysis Center in Pittsburg Certified for Medicare Patients Two - KOAM TV 7

Dialysis Center in Pittsburg Certified for Medicare Patients Two Years After Construction

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Pittsburg, KS -

Davita Hopefield Dialysis at Centennial and Rouse  in Pittsburg is planning an open house for Tuesday, August 14th at 10:00 a.m. to welcome medicare patients. It's been two years since it was built back in 2016. The delay was due to a backlog of inspection requests.
 

          "Pretty good nap today, so I'm in good shape." Floyd Dollar joked to his technician at the Davita kidney care center in Joplin. He travels from Goodman to Joplin, Missouri for dialysis three times a week. He said, I used to go to Bentonville, Arkansas. My kids wanted me up here cause I was having to drive myself."
The Davita clinic that opened  on 32nd street in Missouri had a very different experience in getting inspected to accept medicare patients
than the company's facility in Pittsburg. 
Medical director and nephrologist, Dr. Michael Selby explained,
We were inspected within three months. The state surveyor came and  was there for one day.  Here, (Pittsburg) when we did finally get inspected, it took them three days."
And that was almost two years after the clinic was built and fully staffed.
Selby added, "Our surveyor was hired by the state of Kansas. They were a surveyor for another state,  so they were hired to kind of help catch up."

Fresenius kidney care,  which has a clinic in Pittsburg, waited two years for inspections at several  clinics including  Fort Scott. It is costly for providers and an obstacle for patients. 
Scott Ochs, Fresenius Regional Vice President said,
"Around 80 to 90 percent of our patients rely on medicare and  are not allowed to use a dialysis facility until it
s (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid) certified  so in some cases patients would have to drive much longer ways to get dialysis  while we have a facility  just sitting there waiting to be surveyed by CMS."

Ochs  believes a new federal law allowing third party inspectors will help.

Ochs said Kansas resolved to eliminate its backlog of inspections by September. As far as Fresenius is concerned, it is at one hundred percent for inspections completed at new and existing facilities that needed to be re-certified.
         

Part of the surveyors inspection is a water treatment area where city water from Pittsburg is treated to be used with patients dialysis machines.
Dr. Selby explained, "People who need dialysis are exposed to around  180 liters dialycic treatment. So, 180 liters of water roughly.  So we have to have a  very  clean water system."

And now with its inspection complete Davita Hopefield wants patients to know it
s truly open for business. Dr. Selby added, "We have several nursing homes in the  area  that would like  to be able to bring their patients. So now this opens the door for all those different patients.

 
It
s an important treatment closer to home. As Floyd Dollar can attest,
"It means my life. If I wasn
t doing the dialysis I'd be dead by now."

          Kansas department of health and environment's health facilities program director, Jim Perkins responded to questions from KOAM. The following are the questions and answers.  

Is there a shortage of these surveyors? 

In a word yes but that is not the complete answer to the delays. Initial CMS Certification  for dialysis clinics is considered Tier IV work and, the State Agency workload is driven by the CMS Mission and Priority Document (MPD). Tier workload ranges from Tier I to Tier IV. Tier I would be the most urgent/high-priority complaints, EMTALAs, or Immediate Jeopardy situations that demand immediate attention. Tiers II & III would be comprised of lower resurvey activity but can vary by provider type. With Dialysis clinics initial certification of a new dialysis clinic or, expansion/addition of new services at an existing clinic are considered Tier IV workload. Previously, there were no Accreditation Organization options for Dialysis clinics as is the case for Hospitals, Surgical Centers etc., thus, the work fell to the State Agency to complete. 

What was the reason for such long delays in getting an inspection surveyor to the Pittsburg Davita Dialysis clinic or other such clinics? 

(Perkins) The State Agency has been short staffed for several years and struggles to recruit/retain surveyors. We currently have 5 ½ Nurse Surveyors for the entire state plus one Social Worker for ICF/IIDs. Our survey responsibility includes all Hospitals, Ambulatory Surgical Centers, Critical Access Hospitals, Rural Health Clinics, Home Health Agencies, Hospice Providers, Outpatient Physical Therapy Providers, Portable X-Ray, Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitative Therapy, ICF/IIDs, Birthing Centers and, beginning in 2019 we will assume responsibility for surveying Transplant providers. The shortage of surveyors combined with the workload demands and the increase in the number of high-priority complaints has left State Agency surveyors with no time for Tier IV workload. This situation remains a constant.

Congress passed a law allowing third party inspectors which was apparently recently signed by President Trump in a budget bill. Will this help the situation in Kansas? 

(Perkins) I believe what the above refers to is that there is now an option for Dialysis clinics to contract with Accreditation Organizations for initial certification surveys. However, the caveat is that there must be accreditation organizations available for them to contract with. At the last meeting between State Agency Directors and CMS in Baltimore this past May there had not been any Accreditation Organizations that were approved to perform this function and, there has been no announcement that any are becoming available. The understanding of the State Agency is that Congress also passed, and was signed into law by the President, that there is a 90 day timeframe limit from a new Dialysis Clinic announcing that they are ready for certification survey to the actual completion of the survey. What this means is that, with no Accreditation Organization being available to perform this work the responsibility for completing these surveys will once again fall back to the State Agency.

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