The Texas Department of Health has confirmed its approval to allow DaVita Lufkin Dialysis center to reopen this week. East Texas News spoke with Press Officer Doug McBride and he says late Friday evening the state made the decision to allow the DaVita Dialysis facility to reopen as of July 1st.
McBride says the facility is under what they call a "phased reopening," meaning it is a gradual opening increasing services as time and improvements progress. The state notes that there were deficiencies in the report submitted by DaVita to the state, but those conditions were corrected. One of the terms for reopening was DaVita must have independent monitors in the facility while open. Two Registered nurse monitors, one Physician monitor, and one technical monitor will be mandated to report to the state as often as needed on the progress of the facility for a period of six months. Those monitors are paid by the facility, but must report to the state. There's no word on how many patients will return to the facility once it reopens.
East Texas News also spoke with DaVita Lufkin Dialysis Center Michael Chee. Chee told East Texas News the center would be accepting patients on Wednesday, however, he declined to comment on the state's investigation, or on any measures taken to correct problems identified by the state. He did say he would be at the Lufkin facility on Wednesday and would make a statement at that time.
The state has been working with the dialysis center to correct problems cited by the state, including hiring an approved physician monitor, two nurse monitors, and a technical monitor. The center also had to post a notice letting patients know that during an investigation there were many deficiencies.
The DaVita Lufkin Dialysis Center was originally closed following the launch of a criminal investigation. A 34-year-old former dialysis center nurse is free on bond after she was accused of injecting bleach into two patients. Kimberly Clark Saenz is charged with two counts of aggravated assault. That investigation is now in the hands of the Angelina County District Attorney's office. Assistant D-A Art Bauereiss says the investigation continues. He says they are waiting on lab results from forensic evidence and expects the case to be presented to a grand jury soon.