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Hope Dialysis Center is officially open

 Will and Sisi Spitzenberg treated those who attended opening to a special menu of nutritious goodies

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Hope Dialysis Center, located on the Vaitogi Road, officially opened its doors to the public last Friday, and services commenced yesterday morning. Secretary of Samoan Affairs, Mauga Tasi Asuega, represented the government during the opening ceremony, in place of Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga.

The clinic, with a price tag of $800K, is fully staffed by a nephrologist, Dr Jean Letarte; a dietitian; administrator; nurses; technicians; and orderlies.

HDC will begin dialyzing patients this week as well as conducting exams and blood work. The clinic has 12 chairs that will serve 48 patients with two shifts per day. If there is a need for a third shift, HDC will expand its capacity to 72 patients.

A team from the Center for Medicaid Services (CMS) is expected to arrive on island September 30th for the initial inspection. Dr. Letarte has passed 27 yearly CMS inspections and he is confident HDC will pass with no issues. Patients are encouraged to call the clinic to set up appointments to see Dr. Letarte, who is a board certified nephrologist.

Staff nephrologist, Dr Jean Letarte, 2nd from left, talks with visitors to the clinic at the opening ceremony last Friday. [photo: Leua Aiono Frost]

Dr Letarte has been issued a license to practice medicine by the American Samoa Government. According to the Hope Facebook page, he was born in Quebec and attended medical school at Université Laval. His specialty training was at the Royal Victoria Hospital, McGill University, Montreal. He did research for 1 year Hôspital Necker, Paris. He worked in different countries until he opened his own dialysis center in Arizona.

[photo: Leua Aiono Frost]