Local hospital set to lose its only dialysis center, patients worry

Community

ROCHESTER, N.Y (WROC) — Elderly residents at Monroe Community Hospital will soon have to go elsewhere for Dialysis Care since Fresenius announced a temporary closure of their clinic in the facility.  

Patients and Administration at Monroe Community Hospital claim they were only given two weeks’ notice the facility’s only Dialysis Care provider would be stopping services for the time being. It was not only the most affordable for residents here but also the only one 19 elderly patients without transportation could get to.  

Nicole Goode has spent the last four years receiving Dialysis Care through Fresenius while living at Monroe Community Hospital. When she heard the news, she felt abandoned.  

“There is no alternative,” Nicole Goode said. “There are two clinics available. One is in Brighton and the only patients they are taking are residents and patients who must be in a bed. Everybody else is going to Fairport.”  

A spokesperson for Fresenius told us that is a misunderstanding, assuring all current patients will have a place to go and transportation will be provided to other clinics. But Goode and 18 others worry severe weather or heavy traffic might cut off this option, and if treatment is not done on an even schedule, they could end up in the hospital.  

“I will not get done until like 8:30 pm at night,” Goode explained. “By the time I get back here, I have missed dinner and my evening meds.” 

While Fresenius said this would only be a temporary closure while they adjust staffing levels, Monroe Community Hospital Administration has gone out to look for a new dialysis center to take over the space, but other providers to are facing staff shortages.  

“We know that healthcare staffing community-wide is a challenge so unfortunately no other dialysis centers that were contacted can come in and take on this location,” Hospital Executive Health Director Alyssa Tallo said. “But we are going to aggressively pursue to see if we can provide this service on-site.”  

County Executive Adam Bello called this move by Fresenius putting profits over people. Demanding the international healthcare giant should turn more attention to its patients who are the most vulnerable to transportation and on fixed incomes. 

“This is why we have disparities in the Healthcare System,” County Executive Bello argued. “Because of what you’re seeing here today. We have people who are living at Monroe Community Hospital right now who are being targeted because they are poor. They don’t have access to transportation, they don’t have access to the same type of healthcare as other people in this community.” 

No other Fresenius Health Centers around the Metro have announced their closing. The company would not give us a set time for when they would hope to be back open at Monroe Community Hospital in the future. 

Statement from Fresenius Kidney Care

“Our priority is to provide uninterrupted, high-quality care to our vulnerable patient population in our dialysis centers across the state. We are working closely with patients impacted by this temporary suspension of services to coordinate alternative treatment plans and ensure they have continued access to life-sustaining dialysis.  Patients at nursing facilities across the region are routinely transported to our centers for dialysis treatment without issue, and we will treat this situation with the same care and attention. We hope to reopen our Monroe center as soon as we can safely staff and operate the facility in compliance with state vaccine mandates.

“All patients receiving treatment at the Monroe Community Hospital center now have appointments at other locations either in Rochester or Monroe County. We have also ensured that all patients have appropriate transportation. All other centers in the area are two or three times larger, and Monroe faces the most acute staffing challenges, which are the reasons we chose to close this center over others.

“We fully support the government’s efforts to increase vaccination rates across the country and firmly believe that vaccination of all willing and able healthcare workers is essential to successfully put an end to this global pandemic. As part of our commitment to preventing the spread of COVID-19 to our patients and employees, we are continuing aggressive efforts to educate our employees about all the benefits of vaccination.”

Brad Puffer, spokesperson for Fresenius Kidney Care

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