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Eight jobs coming with new dialysis clinic

IRONTON — A spokesperson representing the company that plans on opening an advanced dialysis clinic in the city of Ironton next year said Thursday the health care facility, when operational, will consist of a staff of eight and use most of the former Big Lots building.

“The facility will initially employ eight staff members. However, we fully expect our staff to grow in tandem with our patient census in order to provide the highest quality of care,” said Debbie Frazier, R.N., director of operations of Fresenius Medical Care.

Frazier did not indicate if all eight jobs were full-time or if the eight were split between full- and part-time employment.

She also said the proposed clinic will cover a “large amount of the pre-existing building” when open.

Frazier added that the facility’s treatment area will be in the front of the building (the former showroom) and will include a covered front entrance for patient drop-off.

As for estimated construction and renovation costs to mold the former discount store into a dialysis clinic, Frazier said the company does not make public those figures but did add the initial term of the lease agreement with the building’s owner is for 10 years.

Henderson, Ky. – based Ershig Properties, Inc. is listed as the current owners of the North Second Street shopping center that also houses Family Dollar.

Unveiled publicly on Nov. 3, the announcement followed several months of rumors by area business owners and local health care officials as to the arrival of construction equipment in the former Big Lots store.

City and development officials however were subdued, refusing to comment on the project until made public.

Scheduled to open in early 2010, Fresenius Medical Care Ironton will provide the county with an advanced dialysis clinic that is says will better serve the area’s growing population of patients with chronic kidney disease.

In addition to in-center daytime hemodialysis services, Fresenius Medical Care Ironton will offer a training program for patients who qualify to administer their treatments in the convenience of their homes.

Other dialysis patient services will include a kidney transplant support program, anemia management, nutrition counseling, bone disease management and social worker support.

Dialysis is a life-sustaining process that cleans waste products from the blood, removes extra fluids, and controls the body’s chemistry when a person’s kidneys fail. Patients typically require treatment on an ongoing basis unless they receive a kidney transplant.

In 2008, the company provided 27.9 million dialysis treatments to 184,086 patients in 2,388 clinics in more than 30 countries.

While Fresenius Medical Care has been praised both nationally and internationally for its high-quality patient care, things have not always been rosy for the German-based provider.

In 2000, Fresenius Medical Care of North America, agreed to pay the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services $486 million to resolve a sweeping investigation of health care fraud at National Medical Care, Inc., one of its American kidney dialysis subsidiaries.

A majority of the money recovered was done so under the government’s False Claims Act or whistleblower’s act.

According to the HHS, the Fresenius scam involved fraudulent and fictitious blood testing claims by the companies contracted clinical blood testing laboratory, kickbacks to dialysis facilities to obtain blood testing contracts and fraudulent claims submitted to Medicare for intradialytic parenteral nutrition — nutritional therapy provided to patients during their dialysis treatments.