Emory Healthcare is opening a 14,000-square-foot center in the South DeKalb Plaza, at 2726 Candler Road.
Joseph Dee, Emory’s clinical operations manager, said the center is awaiting certification from Medicare.
“We are hoping to open in January,” he said.
When it opens for business, Emory Dialysis at Candler will join three other dialysis centers on Candler Road, which has the distinction of having the most dialysis centers countywide.
The Candler Road clinic is one of three new, state-of-the-art dialysis centers that Emory Healthcare is opening simultaneously as a service to its patients. It also is opening clinics on Northside Drive in northwest Atlanta and on Greenbriar Parkway in southwest Atlanta.
The centers’ individual dialysis stations are equipped with comfortable leather chairs and flat-panel televisions for patient use during the four-hour treatment, which they must take three times weekly.
Services at all three centers will include in-center hemodialysis, conventional home hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis, including continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis and continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis. They also will offer patients training for doing hemodialysis at home.
Dee declined to say how much Emory is investing in opening the centers, but he said they will employ 80 people and serve hundreds of patients with renal failure.
The Candler Road center, which is located in the former Pep Boys site near the corner of Candler Road and Rainbow Drive, will have 38 treatment stations. It will employ 30 people, including 18 to 20 patient care technicians, nurses, a social worker and a dietitian.
Dee said Candler Road is an ideal site for Emory’s expansion into owning its own dialysis centers.
“It’s a good location for us,” he said. “It’s on the MARTA bus stop with easy access to two interstates, and the parking is right.”
The South DeKalb Plaza is not new to the Emory system. For more than 10 years, Emory Healthcare operated a clinic there. It relocated in November 2007 to the Trinity Office Park, 4153 Flat Shoals Parkway in Decatur.
Because patients with failed kidneys must have dialysis three times a week to clean their blood of impurities, Dee said dialysis centers must be accessible.
DeKalb District 3 Commissioner Larry Johnson, who has been working to revitalize the Candler Road corridor that lies in the heart of his district, said getting the Emory dialysis center on Candler Road, across from the Gallery at South DeKalb, is a real coup.
“It fits in with our Renaissance Plan to revitalize the area,” he said Tuesday. “We have been working that plan that was completed about two years ago. Emory knows my focus is putting more jobs and health care closer to the people.”
Johnson said that having the dialysis center centrally located also fits in with his push for community-oriented primary care.
“We are trying to get health care close to people so they don’t have to take two buses to get to it,” he said.
The new health care facility is one of three construction projects under way on Candler Road.
McDonald’s is building a new 3,838-square-foot restaurant at the corner of Candler and McAfee roads, and down the road from Walgreens, a small new strip shopping center is under construction.
Johnson said he is also in discussion with the owners of the Candler/McAfee shopping center about attracting a major chain to replace the flea market next door to Wayfield Foods.
Community open house
To introduce the community to the new dialysis center, Emory is hosting a community open house at the center on Jan. 21 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Visitors will get to meet Emory nurses and staff, tour the new facility, and learn more about home therapy options available from Emory Healthcare.
Marshia Coe, who will direct clinical operations at all three Emory dialysis centers, said the Candler Road center will support up to 228 patients, ages 18 years and up, at its 38 stations.
“All Emory doctors will send patients here,” she said.
The dialysis clinics will be staffed by Emory Healthcare nephrologists, who are also faculty members at the Emory University School of Medicine. Emory Healthcare currently has 11 nephrologists who care for patients as well as conduct research and teach medical school students, residents and nephrology fellows. Its nephrologists also work closely with Emory Healthcare’s Transplant Center for patients’ kidney transplant needs.
Adults have 5 quarts of blood in their bodies. Coe says a dialysis treatment takes four hours. Patients are connected to a machine with an artificial kidney, which does the work – cleaning the impurities from the blood – that their failed kidneys are no longer capable of doing.
The Candler Road center will open Monday to Saturday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. It will operate one shift on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and two shifts on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Coe, who worked in dialysis for 26 years at Wake Forest University before she was hired by Emory, said diabetes and hypertension are two main causes of kidney failure.
“Most kidney patients are middle-aged to elderly, but we do have other patients who may lose temporary use of their kidneys during surgery or have kidney disease.”
Many of the patients who will get service at the new Emory centers are now being served at other dialysis centers that are under contract with Emory.
Dee said they will relocate to the Emory-operated centers.
Other patients can contact the Emory Call Center at 1-877-525-2990 and express interest in getting their dialysis at the new center.