By TOM CALLIS
Tribune-Herald staff writer
Liberty Dialysis will open in its new, expanded location in Hilo on Monday after a long wait.
The facility at 1384 Kinoole St. was initially anticipated to open by the end of 2011 but that was delayed while a redesign expanded the number of dialysis stations from 36 to 48 — double the current capacity.
The company faced another delay after the more than 12,000-square-foot building was finished in May.
Manager Lynne Forbes said the facility required approval from the federal Department of Health, a process dependent on the department’s schedule.
That hurdle has been cleared and the company is anxious to move in to its new Hilo home, she said.
“We have a lovely physical environment for our patients,” Forbes said. “And, more importantly, it is large enough so we can accommodate all our patients who need dialysis in East Hawaii here.”
She said the current location near Hilo Medical Center is “pretty tight.”
“The (new) facility should meet our needs for years to come,” Forbes said.
The move, while long awaited, will be a quiet one.
A blessing was held in January and Forbes said no further dedication ceremonies are planned.
“We had a blessing earlier this year … so we’re just opening up and just enjoying it being there,” she said.
Dialysis helps replace the function of kidneys, which are responsible for filtering blood, after the organs fail.
Diabetes is a cause of kidney failure.
According to the state Department of Heath, 3 percent of deaths in Hawaii in 2009 could be attributed to diabetes, making it the fifth leading cause of death.
More than 8 percent of Hawaii adults had diabetes the following year, up from about 5 percent a decade earlier, according state DOH.
About 7.3 percent of adults on the Big Isle have diabetes.
The highest concentration was in Hilo with 8.4 percent of the population suffering from the disease.
When looked at by race, Hawaiians have the highest rate (11.4 percent) and Filipinos are the second most likely to have the disease (10.1 percent).
People of Japanese descent are next at 9.8 percent and whites were last at 5.5 percent.
Email Tom Callis at email@example.com.