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Samaritan Hospital’s Dialysis clinic transitions to DCI

(Macon, Missouri) Dialysis Clinic, Inc. (DCI) will take ownership of the Samaritan Hospital dialysis clinic on Aug. 29, once afternoon treatments are complete.

DCI already has a strong presence in northern Missouri with dialysis clinics in Moberly, Kirksville and Mexico, and seven clinics in its Mid-Missouri region, which is headquartered in Columbia. DCI is a non-profit service organization and is the third largest dialysis chain in the U.S., with approximately 230 clinics in 28 states. The company is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee.

Samaritan Hospital opened its dialysis clinic in 1995 and operated it continuously until its board decided it was no longer feasible to do so. Medicare’s reimbursement rules for small hospitals were the reason behind the board’s decision.

 “Several of DCI’s recent clinic acquisitions have come because of the way Medicare’s smaller hospital payment system actually penalizes the hospital for having a service like dialysis,” said DCI Regional Administrator Tony Warren.  “While the direct revenues and expenses of the clinic may show a profit, Medicare disallows payment to the hospital for overhead services like housekeeping, maintenance and administrative services. Since those services are essential to running a dialysis unit, more hospitals are finding it advantageous to have another organization provide the dialysis service.”

Samaritan Hospital CEO Bern Orman described the Samaritan board’s enthusiasm for DCI when considering options for the future of dialysis:  “We really liked the fact that DCI is non-profit, and that their mission and values are, like ours, focused on putting patients’ needs first. We believe this arrangement can go forward as a partnership, and our patients benefit by keeping a needed service in this community.” 

DCI is purchasing the dialysis equipment from Samaritan, who is leasing the dialysis building to DCI. The majority of Samaritan’s dialysis staff will become employees of DCI, but Dialysis Nurse Manager Patricia Halley has chosen to stay with Samaritan. The nurse manager role will be filled by Roberta Simons, RN, who is a Macon resident and a former employee of Samaritan Hospital and Samaritan Dialysis. Columbia-based nephrologist Dr. Blake Brooks will continue to be the clinic’s medical director.

 “I want to thank Samaritan Hospital and the community of Macon in helping us with this transition,” said Simons.  “Most people would have no idea how many moving parts and system changes are required to achieve this change, and everyone has been extremely helpful.  We’re all excited about bringing DCI to Macon and continuing to serve the patients of this region who suffer from kidney disease.”

Simons projected that September will be a “get settled in” month, and that treatment schedules will initially remain the same, with morning and afternoon shifts on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, but that growing demand will likely lead to the addition of another shift later in the year.

“There are currently patients dialyzing elsewhere for whom Macon would be closer, but we don’t have any empty chairs in the present schedule,” she said. “Part of the objective of this transition is to create the capacity to serve the entire community’s needs.”

Simons said she looks forward to introducing DCI to the Macon community and bringing DCI’s resources in education and early detection to the area. A community open house is planned for later in the fall.

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