Health

Red tape slows opening of Hollister dialysis center

Satellite Healthcare Dialysis awaits certification to serve Medicare and Medicaid patients.
Diabetes chart.
Diabetes chart.

The Satellite Healthcare Dialysis Center that recently opened in the Hollister Farms Shopping Center along the Highway 25 bypass was completed more than a year ago. At that time, Colette Boudreau Stall, spokeswoman for the San Jose-based company, said it might be six months before patients could come to the center. She couldn’t be more specific about when the center would open because of the lengthy certification process.

No one could be blamed for not noticing that the center appears to be open. Meanwhile, those suffering from kidney disease still have to make the hours-long trips back and forth to Gilroy and Morgan Hill for treatments because the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has yet to certify the center for Medicare and Medicaid clients. Marsha Dodd, chief brand officer, said the delay is normal for how CMS works.

Dodd told BenitoLink on March 29 that the facility “is open for business, but not open.”

“We are open to providing some services,” she said, “but we have to wait for the government to provide Medicare certification for us to be in a position to take all patients.”

She said when the company has a date, CMS will say when the center can start taking Medicare patients. “It’s not uncommon for any dialysis center to take a number of months for Medicare to certify for treatments,” she said.

Meanwhile, those who would rather receive their treatments closer to home will need to get a referral from their attending physician, then call Satellite Healthcare to make an appointment. BenitoLink was first told there is already a substantial waiting list, but Dodd said April 5 there is no such list. 

“We are aware of patients interested in admitting to the center, and we believe we will be able to accommodate the census of patients,” she said. “It is always the patient’s choice as to which center to treat in. This decision involves their attending physician and care team. We do not dictate/or determine or shift patients to a location.”

“We have identified the first two patients (on March 14) for dialysis treatments in order to request a CMS survey,” Dodd said. “This is required by CMS for the survey. In approximately two weeks we can notify CMS we are prepared for survey.”  

She continued: “The CMS survey of the clinic is “unannounced” at their choosing. Treating our first Medicare patient may happen between July and September, based on certification. There may be additional time required to be credentialed for/by all health plans.”

When the center does finally open to Medicare patients, Stall said it will have 12 in-center stations and four home-training rooms. She said the company’s business model is to train individuals to do their own dialysis at home. She said in-home dialysis has become increasingly popular, especially during the pandemic.

She said when the center is fully staffed there will be a minimum of four home hemodialysis registered nurses, two clinical administrative coordinators, two full-time RNs, six certified hemodialysis technicians, one full-time social worker, one full-time renal dietitian and one full-time center manager.

 

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John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a BenitoLink reporter and an author. He has many years' experience as a freelance photojournalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter, and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer who has worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and underwent graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John has worked as a script doctor and his own script, God's Club, was released as a motion picture in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime, which are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: [email protected]