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Woodford Times - Peoria, IL
  • Affiliated Dialysis Centers offers in-house treatment options at nursing homes

  • WASHINGTON — Steve Bucher wants to make a difference in helping people who receive dialysis. His business model is aimed at this goal.

    The business that started in his home has expanded and now has a new location in Sunnyland.

    Affiliated Dialysis Centers LLC settled in to the former Peoria Siding & Windows building located at 2462 Washington Road in May.
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  • WASHINGTON — Steve Bucher wants to make a difference in helping people who receive dialysis. His business model is aimed at this goal.
    The business that started in his home has expanded and now has a new location in Sunnyland.
    Affiliated Dialysis Centers LLC settled in to the former Peoria Siding & Windows building located at 2462 Washington Road in May.
    Steve Bucher, who moved to Morton after losing his Washington home in the Nov. 17, 2013, tornado, is the CEO of the company. He moved to Illinois from Indiana in 1975 and started his own business in 2003 along with Curt Anliker of Chicago and Leroy Hagenbuch. Later, Scott Vavrinchik became a partner.
    Prior to starting the business, Bucher, 67, worked at Heinold Banwart for four years as a CPA and as a manager at Midwest Kidney Centers.
    “My mom was a dialysis patient the last 10 years. When I ran Midwest Kidney and saw patients come in on a gurney with a sheet in the winter. I thought I wouldn’t put up with that for my mother and I wouldn’t put up with it for others,” Bucher said.
    Dialysis, Bucher said, is the process of cleaning a person’s blood when their kidneys are not working properly. Receiving dialysis can take seven to eight hours, Bucher said.
    “The whole day is shot,” he added.
    As a certified dialysis provider, Bucher’s company enters into an agreement to provide the equipment and drugs for dialysis to nursing homes for residents who require the treatment. Bucher said this is key because patients don’t have to be transported back and forth. 
    After hiring a firm to look at the company’s database, Bucher said they learned a company such as theirs was beneficial to the area. They also learned that by providing treatment at nursing homes, patients’ lives were being lengthened by four times.
    “We were surprised. I don’t think it’s a shock that transporting patients back and forth isn’t beneficial to the patient,” Bucher said, adding that they can miss meals or medications if they have to be transported for dialysis.
    “It’s reassuring to see independent evaluators say, ‘Hey, what you’re doing is making an incredible difference,’” Bucher said.
    Affiliated Dialysis Centers LLC provides service to the state of Illinois, primarily in Chicago. They have another office in Glen Ellyn.
    Page 2 of 3 - Prior to moving to their 8,000-square-foot building in Sunnyland, Bucher said their local office was in the Burklund building along Illinois Route 116.
    “We had expanded two times in the Burklund building and were in need of space again,” he said.
    Initially, Bucher thought the brick building was too old, but after having a contractor look at it, he learned a lot could be done economically. Walls were knocked out, and new lighting and carpeting were installed.
    Bucher likes the new location because he said it’s centrally located and he said improvements to Illinois Route 8 through Sunnyland provides good access.
    “The shopping center being done provides good things for the area,” he said. “I think this whole corridor you’re going to see a lot of upgrading.”
    Affiliated Dialysis Centers LLC has a total of 160 employees with 16 of those employees working at the Sunnyland location. In the future, Bucher said they hope to expand in Indiana and California. Interest, nursing homes and regulatory environment plays a role in these future plans, he said.
    “Some states are more difficult, but I’m really committed to helping people that need nursing home care and dialysis,” he said.
    With the dialysis inside a nursing home, Bucher said patients can receive treatment five times a week.
    “The standard is three times a week even though evidence is mounting that dialysis three times a week is not adequate,” Bucher said.
    Affiliated Dialysis Centers LLC provides services to about 45 nursing homes, with about 35 of those in Chicago. The closest nursing home they provide service to in central Illinois is in Bloomington. Bucher said they recently submitted a proposal for a new nursing home in Peoria.
    “I love the old adage, ‘If not now, when, and if not us, who?’ I think it’s up to us to take care of that,” Bucher said.
    To his knowledge, there is only one other smaller company in Chicago that offers the same service Affiliated Dialysis Centers LLC does. Otherwise, Bucher said there are two large, main companies that provide about 75 percent of dialysis in the nation as an outpatient service.
    “I think it’s about expenditure resources. We already own the market. Why would we spend more money?” Bucher said of the larger companies.
    Page 3 of 3 - Affiliated Dialysis Centers LLC operates under the Home Dialysis Rules of Medicare and they are able to train CNAs at nursing homes.
    In the future, Bucher said he would like to further develop his business, which has been successful.
    “It’s way more important to me that we’re making a difference,” he said. “That’s way more important to me than making a profit.”
    Speaking of profits, Bucher said he views patients who have to remain in a hospital to get dialysis as “waste” due to the cost.
    “It’s taking significant health care savings. Those in long-term care tied to a hospital, it’s more expensive, maybe $1,500 a day compared to $500 a day in a nursing home.”
    “I think people across the country are going to be convinced this is something that needs to be done,” Bucher said of his business model.
    “It’s a business model where everybody’s a winner,” he said.
    For more information about Affiliated Dialysis Centers LLC, call 698-1800.

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