The future of kidney dialysis care in Jackson County remains up in the air.

Fresenius Kidney Care, a national dialysis provider, is deciding whether to continue providing dialysis to about 18 patients at Jackson County Regional Health Center.

No timeframe for the possible closure has been given. As of press time, Fresenius officials had not responded to phone calls about their future plans in Maquoketa.

Fresenius, which is headquartered in Massachusetts, leases space in the Jackson County Regional Health Center. When the hospital moves to its new location southeast of Maquoketa, the dialysis clinic will not move with it, according to hospital administrator Curt Coleman.

When hospital officials laid out plans for the new facility, they sought to downsize the building and create more efficiencies. Those plans did not include building additional space for outpatient clinics.

“We decided not to spend our capital dollars on a dialysis unit design for the hospital,” Coleman said.

Fresenius must decide whether to stop offering services in Maquoketa, find new clinic space in the area, or build a new clinic somewhere in Jackson County.

JCRHC has offered to lease space on the new hospital campus to Fresenius, which would have to build its own facility there, according to Coleman.

“That’s where it stands now,” said Coleman, who noted he has received no response from Fresenius on its future plans in Maquoketa. “We will work with Fresenius to better understand their plan and try to be flexible around our move date.”

The new hospital, which may be fully enclosed by next month, should be completed by the end of 2020.

JCRHC provided dialysis care for patients in 2009, but hospital officials decided to discontinue the service because it was not “self-sustaining,” Coleman said.

The hospital then became a landlord, Coleman explained, leasing a portion of the hospital to dialysis care providers, such as Dr. V.R. Alla and most recently Fresenius.

Patients require dialysis when their kidneys stop working. The kidneys remove waste, salt, and extra fluid from the body. The kidneys also help to control blood pressure and maintain a safe level of chemicals, such as potassium and sodium, in the body.