Why we cannot do dialysis
There are always questions whenever conversations get started about the hospital or when employees get the opportunity to speak in front of a group. In general, people are curious regarding the well-being of the hospital or they may have questions specific to their personal experiences. Take all these questions that we are asked and there is one that has been asked far more often than any of the rest.
Why can’t Share Medical Center (SMC) do dialysis?
Over the years, many legitimate responses have been offered. It’s too expensive. It’s too complicated. It’s too hard to get specialists and trained staff. Our facilities are inadequate. And if you’ve asked the question, I imagine you’ve heard there just aren’t enough dialysis patients to make it work.
How can that be? It seems there is always someone from Alva going to some other town to get dialysis.
Over the years, we’ve had Oklahoma State University do impact and feasibility studies. We’ve polled our physicians to determine need. We’ve discussed with citizens to determine the demand. And most recently, SMC Chief Financial Officer, Albert Wiss, is having a private dialysis provider look at bringing the service to the Alva area.
In each case, the number one reason SMC cannot offer dialysis is that there just aren’t enough patients to sustain the service. Truth of the matter, that’s the only legitimate reason not to offer the service. Our Foundation’s recent activity and the community’s support of a sales tax for the hospital indicate that we may be capable of overcoming the financial barriers if folks truly believe in the service.
The company Wiss has been working with claims if there is an average of ten dialysis patients at all times, they can consider footing the bill and setting up a dialysis center just about anywhere. When Wiss polled the local physicians and nursing homes just a few weeks ago, there was only one patient currently receiving dialysis.
So that’s Alva; what about the rest of the county or surrounding area? We really don’t know. We know our physicians see patients from all over the place. We speculate that within 30 or 40 miles of Alva, there could be up to four or five patients receiving dialysis. Like I said, this is speculation. It could be more, but it also could be less.
Further, even if there are ten patients in the area, are they going to elect to receive dialysis in Alva? Based on other services like lab or x-ray, we could anticipate up to about 80% or 90% of area patients choosing SMC. But realistically, for a lot of our specialty services, our current market share is about 65% or less depending on the service.
It could take twelve to eighteen total patients for a company like the one mentioned above to consider offering dialysis services in Alva.
The only way to know for sure how many patients were talking about is for all the patients receiving dialysis to contact us. We’ve set up a dedicated phone number for people to call if they are receiving dialysis. The number is 580.430.3341; please leave a message with your name and the number which you can be reached. We will need to verify patient information with providers. Patients will need to voluntarily give SMC consent to contact their dialysis provider. There will also be some paper work involved.
We will keep this line open until May 31, 2013, so please tell your friends, family and neighbors to help spread the word.