Mt. Baker Kidney Center celebrates 30 years

Published on Wed, Oct 6, 2010
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Mt. Baker Kidney Center (MBKC) is celebrating a number of milestones this year.

On July 14, they celebrated 30 years of serving the Whatcom County community. In addition, they recently underwent and passed a regular, unannounced federal Medicare re-certification inspection. With more than 130 patients – approximately 82 percent of whom are on Medicare or Medicaid – it was critical the Center passed this inspection in order to retain the certification.

What was once just a four-station clinic has seen a four-fold increase, and it is now a 26-station clinic operating as a not-for-profit, independent facility.

“When the kidney center was started, it was the first step in bringing specialized kidney disease care to this area,” said David Strutz, Administrator for MBKC.

The Medicare re-certification inspections occur approximately every three years and are always unannounced. However, depending on a kidney center’s performance, they can take place as early as the following year.

Because MBKC has been established for 30 years, the center is quite familiar with these inspections. However, this was the first time in years that the conditions for coverage (or guidelines that dialysis centers are required to abide by in order to retain certification) had changed.

“Kidney centers nationwide were rather nervous in regard to how they were going to do at inspection time,” commented Strutz on the new certification standards.

This was the first year MBKC was measured against the new conditions for coverage, which went into effect in October of 2008.

MBKC has managed to remain a strong, not-for-profit resource to patients, due in large part to its exceptional staff. In fact, 19 of its 47 employees have served for 10 years or more. In addition, Dr. William Lombard, MBKC’s current medical director, has been in place since 1986.

“When we went through the two and a half day inspection, we did very well, considering the new conditions for coverage,” Strutz said. “We received high performance marks and passed with a very low number of deficiencies.”

“The fact that the center has grown and flourished over the past 30 years is a testament to our exceptional physicians, and particularly our medical director and his leadership. It is a testament to the nurses, dietitians and social workers who care for the patients. We have a top-flight staff.”

The center provides more than 21,000 life-sustaining treatments per year via the following programs: In-center, at home and through service provided to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center.

Additionally, there is a focus on providing in-home dialysis for patients.

For further information on MBKC, contact David Strutz at dhstrutz@hinet.org.