Fresenius Kidney Care recently celebrated the open house of the first dedicated dialysis clinic in Marana. Although Fresenius operates five other locations throughout Tucson, nurses and staff saw many patients driving out of the Marana town limits to receive kidney care.
“Fresenius decided that the market was growing and we needed to put something up here,” said clinic manager Staci Elms. “But it was a long, drawn-out process, and took about six years.”
The new location, at 3600 W. Tangerine Road, Ste. 120 in the Tangerine Crossing mall, was put on the books back in 2013, and broke ground in 2017. Aside from construction, the location needed to achieve multiple certifications before operation. Fresenius received a certificate of occupancy in 2018, and became Medicare certified in September 2019.
The new clinic offers home hemodialysis, home peritoneal dialysis and in-center hemodialysis. The location is unique compared to multiple other Tucson locations in that it is right next door to an Arizona Kidney Disease & Hypertension Center.
“There are several locations across Arizona that have this model, but they’re just not going to be making them going forward,” Elms said. “This is one of the last ones, just because we have to agree on everything together. In actuality, I personally think it’s great for our patients here, because they have a doctor’s office right next door, and the access center right next door, and that’s very convenient.”
The Tangerine Crossing center is also the first Fresenius clinic in Tucson to have new BlueStar Hemodialysis Machines, which Fresenius makes themselves. The BlueStar machines are designed to improve accuracy and reduce costs with automated technologies such as pH self-tests and automatic priming.
“This cuts down on a lot of human error,” Elms said. “Because in the other clinics, we have to mix bicarb and it has to go through the whole system. This way, the bicarb never runs out.”
Elms, who has worked with Fresenius for eight years, says multiple locals in the Dove Mountain area are excited about a dialysis location moving into Marana. The next closest Fresenius clinic is at West La Cholla Boulevard and West Orange Grove Road.
The new location currently employs two nurses, two technicians and has one technician in training. Fully staffed, the location will employ four to five nurses, and 10 to 12 technicians. The staffing depends on the number of clients, which must maintain a ratio of one technician per four patients, and one nurse per 12 patients.
“We have very stringent quality goals that are even more stringent than what Medicare puts on us,” Elms said. “So we try to go above-and-beyond whatever Medicare does. We take care of patients’ emotional as well as their physical issues.”
If patients are currently receiving dialysis care at another facility and want to transfer to the closer Marana location, they can help with transfer as well.
Beyond dialysis care, Fresenius staff also has a social worker and dietician to help patients with meal planning, ideas for grocery shopping, and also has a team in place to help with paying bills.
“It’s kind of a one-stop shop,” Elms said. “We try to take a holistic approach to the whole patient.”