Liberty Dialysis opens dialysis center to the public, hosts welcoming event

ST. GEORGE — Liberty Dialysis hosted an open house Thursday, inviting the public to take a tour of its state-of-the-art facilities in St. George. Doctors, technicians, management and corporate officers were on hand to answer questions and show visitors around the clinic.

The new Liberty Dialysis Center held a grand opening in St. George, Utah, April 7, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News
The new Liberty Dialysis Center held a grand opening in St. George, Utah, April 7, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News

The clinic began seeing patients on Feb. 1, but Thursday marked its grand opening. Food, drinks and live music greeted visitors at the front door.

Liberty Dialysis is a multi-national corporation operating in 22 states across the U.S. with over 100 dialysis clinics and close to 2,000 employees, according to its website. The clinics operate under the umbrella corporation of Fresenius Medical Care, which is headquartered in Germany.

Jacob Savage, Southern Utah director of operations for Fresenius Medical Care, said while the former site of Liberty Dialysis at 1173 S. 250 West served the community well, the new building was a significant upgrade in facilities.

“This clinic is our newest clinic with the latest medical technology to serve our dialysis patients,” Savage said. “Our older clinic served its purpose and it was time to incorporate some of the newer technologies that can be had with relocating the clinic.”

Visitors to the gran opening of the Liberty Dialysis Center enjoyed live music, food and drinks in St. George, Utah, April 7, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News
Visitors to the grand opening of the Liberty Dialysis Center enjoyed live music, food and drinks in St. George, Utah, April 7, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News

The quality of care is what sets Liberty Dialysis apart from other clinics, Savage said, adding it’s the relationships with physician partners, who are allowed to lead the staff, that helps Liberty Dialysis achieve the high standards to which it aspires.

Approximately 20 employees are on hand at the clinic including nurses, patient care technicians, an on-site dietician and social worker, plus a medical director and clinical manager in addition to the physician partners.

Richard Eaton, clinic manager, said one of their upgraded technologies is medical-grade water, which could not be created at the old location. Now they can process this type of water, which is vital for dialysis.

“For the dialysis to be effective it’s got to have ultra-pure water, so it goes through a bunch of filters, it goes through some carbon tanks where it takes out the chlorine,” Eaton said.

The clinic also has heated seats for the patients, along with TV and wireless internet. They serve approximately 70 patients who come for dialysis at the clinic and another 45 who get treatment at home.

The new Liberty Dialysis Center held a grand opening in St. George, Utah, April 7, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News
The new Liberty Dialysis Center held its grand opening April 7. Liberty sits next to the Southern Utah Kidney and Hypertension Center that was founded by Liberty’s medical director in St. George. St. George, Utah, April 7, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News

Dr.  Carlos Mercado, medical director of Liberty Dialysis and founder of the adjacent Southern Utah Kidney and Hypertension Center, said the technology in the clinic is some of the most advanced, not only in the United States but worldwide as well.

“(This clinic is) offering all the varieties of dialysis therapy, including in-center hemodialysis that you can see here, in some of the treatment areas, or home hemodialysis or home peritoneal dialysis,” Mercado said.

Another aspect of the clinic that sets it apart from other clinics, Mercado said, is that on average in the U.S., only 10 percent of dialysis patients are able to get treatments at home. At the St. George clinic, those numbers are closer to 45 percent, he said, adding that the clinic is ranked in the Top 10 nationwide for in-home treatment numbers.

Greg Larsen, nurse practitioner, said that working with dialysis patients is rewarding.

“The work is gratifying, to be able to help people, especially when we see a new patient get sent over by their primary care; their biggest fear is that they’re going to be on dialysis,” Larsen said.

The goal is to keep them off dialysis, if at all possible, Larsen said, adding that dialysis only accounts for approximately 10 percent of what the clinic does.

“They come, and they’re afraid, they’re freaked out, ‘I’m going to be on dialysis’,” Larsen said. “You help allay their fears, you help let them know that we can do things; we can prevent, we can prolong and the majority of them never see a dialysis unit.”

Mercado is optimistic about the future of the clinic. He said:

I see better patient care, accommodations of patients that have different needs, for example we have an isolation room that we didn’t have before. It’s the only isolation room in Southern Utah. We have a very good patient to nurse ratio, state of the art therapy for all the patients, with the latest technology in every aspect, even in (the) center or doing it at home.

Eaton said his goals for the future of the clinic are simple.

“Our objectives are to help serve the community and help take care of our patients and give them the best care that we can,” he said.

Email: dgilman@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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