Tribe turns dirt for dialysis center
NEEDLES — The Fort Mojave Indian Tribe broke ground Tuesday on the Hemodialysis Home Therapy Center that will expand options for patients managing chronic kidney disease on the reservation.
The Hemodialysis Home Therapy Center will be able to serve from eight to 15 patients and Fresenius Kidney Care will be in charge of running the program.
“This is going to be a 5,000-square-foot building that will take about six to eight months to finish,” said Pete Everett, Precise Builders Inc. owner. “It’s going to be a modern-style building that will come in around $1.9 million.”
“A lot of the plans that we are doing as a tribe are not new plans, they’ve always been needs of the tribe,” said Timothy Williams, Fort Mojave Indian Tribe Chairman. “It’s just now we’ve come to a point where we have the financial ability to be able to carry out the projects that have been on the table for quite some time, from not only tribal leaders that are currently on the council but also tribal leaders of the past.”
According to the National Kidney Foundation, American Indians and Alaska Natives are 50 percent more likely to have kidney failure compared to the majority of Americans. Fort Mojave Indians who need to get a dialysis checkup regularly have to travel to the Fresenius Kidney Care in Bullhead City.
“This dialyses facility is important to the community because our current one is so far away, the dialysis patients are waking up at 3:30 or 4:30 in the morning and we are transporting to and from the location,” said Williams. “We wanted to be a facility that is more for them and making sure that it is going to be a caring and compassionate facility to improve our health overall.”
In order to make the Hemodialysis Home Therapy Center more efficient, the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, along with the contractors and architects, asked the dialysis patients what they needed and how it could better serve them.
“The main objective was ensuring that it was for the dialysis patients and by the dialysis patients, which was a key since early on our thoughts were different than what they actually go through,” said Williams. “The key to the whole development of the center was it being developed by the dialysis patients. Down to the TVs, the way the chairs are set up, having their own lockers, it’s not just a facility where they come in and go out.”
“This has been a long time coming for the tribe and we just wanted to make sure that this project was about the community and everybody coming together. We are just carrying out the plans and the foresight of the past leaders that knew that we needed a dialysis center and we are thankful that they set the foundation for us to be able to accomplish the goal we had.”