Dialysis is a growing need in Rapid City. The community’s dialysis population is increasing 3 percent per year, outpacing what other cities are experiencing. With a jump in population between the last two censuses, growth is part of the reason. The other is a higher-than-average prevalence of diabetes and hypertension, both of which can impact a person’s kidneys.

It can take three to five years to receive a kidney transplant. In the meantime, individuals with kidney failure spend four-and-a-half hours a day, three times a week, sitting in a chair receiving dialysis treatment.

That’s why Mike Thompson, Monument Health’s Director of Dialysis, wants to make the experience as positive as it can be. While most of Monument Health’s directors have previously served in clinical roles, Mike has a financial background and Wall Street experience. He came to South Dakota when he joined Regional Health’s finance department.

“It’s an interesting, roundabout story,” Mike said. “I spent a lot of time working with the dialysis management just to see if we can help operations and financials. When the previous director moved on, they offered me the director opportunity.”

When Mike became director, he knew a different space was needed to accommodate the center’s growth in patients. Two years after he stepped into his new role, he and his staff moved to a space at Dakota Market Square (located at Cambell and East North) renovated by Dream Design International.

Nine months in, Mike says the new location is allowing Monument Health to better serve its 148 dialysis patients. While the old location had a linear setup of patient chairs, the Dakota Market Square clinic contains pods of patient chairs to allow for a stronger sense of community amongst patients. Each pod is made up of a group of eight patient chairs and four pods form two octagonal sections in the building. The setup allows patients to socialize with one another and creates ease for the staff who provide care. The center also has four patient chairs in separate rooms to serve patients who require isolation.

Another perk of the new building is having everything on the ground floor. In the former location, there was a limit on how many patients in wheelchairs could be on the upper floor at one time because of ADA requirements. As Mike puts it, patients are very happy with going from the waiting room straight to the pods.

The new location at Dakota Market Square accommodates those who need to utilize public transportation. This was one of the most vital considerations when the project was still in the site selection phase.

Most importantly, by increasing the number of chairs from 24 to 36, Mike and the center’s caregivers are now able to serve more patients at a time and they have enough room for the expected growth over the next decade. Because the clinic isn’t at capacity right now, the Dialysis Center team is finally able to open their doors to a population they’ve long wanted to serve: tourists who are visiting the Black Hills.

“During the Sturgis Rally, we had quite a few patients who came to the Center. They got to see the Hills and have dialysis as well,” Mike said.

For more information on Monument Health’s dialysis services, visit monument.health/services/dialysis/.