A few years ago, the Illinois Health Facilities & Services Review Board wrestled over proposals for major new hospitals. More recently, board members have had to become expert on such matters as diabetes and renal care.
While new hospital construction has slowed, there has been a surge in the development of dialysis centers. The June 5 meeting of the board had nine proposals for dialysis centers.
"Our applications track where the need for healthcare is currently," says Courtney Avery, administrator of the board. "Right now there is a real need for more dialysis centers."
Indeed, dialysis has become a major growth field as diabetes and other kidney diseases have exploded. Now the seventh-leading cause of death in the nation, diabetes affects 30.3 million Americans, or more than 9 percent of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, which estimates that another 84 million Americans have pre-diabetes, a condition that if not treated can lead to Type 2 diabetes within five years. More than 1.5 million new cases of diabetes are being diagnosed each year in the U.S., the CDC reports.