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This article was written by Alex Zorn on August 25, 2021, and published on Skilled Nursing News.

Please read the article in full on the Skilled Nursing News website: https://skillednursingnews.com/2021/08/location-is-key-for-in-house-dialysis-growth-for-snfs/

As skilled nursing operators look for new paths to take on higher acuity patients, some are turning to in-house dialysis as a way to build back hospital referrals lost during COVID-19.

One wrinkle, however, has proven to be that the rules and regulations around the construction and implementation of these services differ from state-to-state, with some states simply easier and more sensible to set up in than others.

“Clearly, you can’t ignore the fact that it’s an avenue to build census and with folks being much more challenged with census right now I think [many] are looking at new avenues that they may not have had to look at before,” Villa Healthcare CEO Mark Berger told Skilled Nursing News.

Skokie, Ill.-based Villa Healthcare has established in-house dialysis at its facilities in several states across the Midwest. And Berger is hardly the only operator that thinks it’s a good investment at this time.

“Skilled nursing operators out there thinking about what their recovery strategy is going to be and how they are going to reclaim their market share now find themselves with extra real estate and that’s the equation, you have to have the space and the hunger to invest in a new program,” Ray Thivierge, chief strategy officer for SavaSeniorCare, said. “Those two things combined, and COVID-19, served as a catalyst for why I think we’re seeing this preponderance of folks considering these partnerships.”

Rather than sending patients to an off-site dialysis facility, Sava opened its own in-house program to better care for the patients it serves with the goal of reducing hospitalizations and improving clinical outcomes.

With four in-house dialysis programs at its facilities across the U.S., and plans to add several more by the end of next year, Thivierge said Sava has “moved from opportunistic to strategic” in expanding its in-house dialysis program.

Factors for both operators as they look to expand their programs have been location and the pervasiveness of similar specialty programs in the marketplace.

“In newer markets where we open you see a quicker turnaround as far as the increase in census goes,” said Elly Latinik, CEO of RenPro Renal Services, which partners with SNF providers and has dialysis facilities in Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky with pending licenses in several additional states across the country.

“We’re based out of Chicago, which is a competitive market, but I think the data shows a significant uptick at a quicker pace in newer markets that don’t have as much competition,” he added.

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