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Dialysis Clinic Tour | Parkland, WA

In early May, the Northwest Kidney Council had the pleasure of touring a DaVita Dialysis Center in Parkland, WA, south of Seattle, alongside 29th Legislative District Representative Melanie Morgan (D). A few key takeaways: 

The necessity for quality water

The dialysis process is extremely water-intensive and water quality is critical to providing patient care. On average, 153 gallons (about twice the volume of a bathtub) of water are utilized per dialysis treatment. However, the problem isn’t that these centers can’t get enough water, rather it’s twofold: 

  1. Shortage of biomedical technicians: These employees are responsible for maintaining dialysis machines and water quality in the center. They order dialysis supplies and reprocess dialyzers (artificial kidneys) for reuse. While there isn’t necessarily a shortage of Biology graduates, the awareness of Biomedical Technicians as a career path is not often the first thought that comes to mind, resulting in workforce shortages. For instance, the Parkland Clinic has one biomedical technician, impacting the center’s ability to provide consistent services. NWKC is advocating for policies that will promote this career path and address the technician shortage. 

  2. Dependence on public water systems: Dialysis centers must source their water from public systems, which are typically non-profit entities managed by local or state governments. This regulatory requirement limits the placement of dialysis centers to areas served by large municipal water systems. Consequently, rural areas can sometimes lack appropriate sites for dialysis centers to be developed, forcing patients to travel significant distances, sometimes up to 100 miles, to receive treatment. This underscores the necessity of advocating for safe, reliable, and affordable transportation options for all patients. 

The significance of quality patient care

Dialysis patients need to receive treatment an average of three times a week for about three to four hours each session. This equates to a substantial amount of time spent in the clinic itself, underscoring the significance of a healthy patient-provider relationship. 

During our tour, we had the privilege of speaking with several patients who emphasized that the clinic staff made the center feel like home – that they were being heard. Despite the challenges associated with chronic kidney disease, patients felt they were receiving excellent care.

It was a privilege to tour the Parkland clinic. Clinic staff put in tremendous effort to deliver treatments daily, and patients benefit from that effort. Hearing issues from clinic staff and patients, it’s critical that we continue to engage with state legislators to advocate for kidney disease patients, and we are excited to work with legislative champions like Rep. Morgan heading into the 2025 session.  

To learn more about the impact of kidney disease in your district, click here to learn more.


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