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Civil Beat: Kidney failures in Hawaii - Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather - KITV Channel 4

Civil Beat: Kidney failures in Hawaii

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Where does Hawaii stand versus the rest of the nation when it comes to kidney failure?

Chad Blair: One in seven Hawaii residents have chronic kidney disease compared to one in nine nationally. It's more common because Asian and Pacific Islander populations are susceptible to the disease. 4,000 Hawaii patients are on dialysis.

Paula Akana: We see dialysis centers pop up all over. Are they full?

Chad Blair: Yes, over all. But there are actually two Oahu facilities: one in Mililani, another in Moiliili that are only able to take a few patients because the state hasn't inspected them yet. It takes years for Hawaii dialysis centers to fully open, and that's frustrating for patients.

Paula Akana: Insurance plays a role in where you can go?

Chad Blair: Most patients are covered by government-run insurance programs. The feds won't let patients visit a facility until state inspectors say it meets their standards. The problem is is that only a few state inspectors have the specialized training to survey dialysis centers.

Paula Akana: Availability is a big problem along with unopened facilities, it leads to some long drives and odd hours for patients?

Chad Blair: Patients lucky enough to get a slot often have to get up early in the morning or finish treatment late at night and it's common for patients to pick a treatment center farther from their houses in able to get a treatment slot immediately.

Paula Akana: And some have to undergo dialysis in the hospital?

Chad Blair: Patients often find out they need dialysis after visiting the emergency room. If there aren't any openings at a dialysis center near them, patients may have to wait in the hospital for weeks without being able to leave between their treatments three times per week, four hours a day.

Paula Akana: Lawmakers are considering a bill that would help out the situation ?

Chad Blair: Yes. It would fund a few new health department inspector positions, but it takes years to train those employees to inspect dialysis centers. In the meantime, the health department and governor's office are trying to contract with inspectors on the mainland to complete more health facility inspections.

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