It's tough enough going through dialysis treatment, but it's just as tough needing to travel to Bakersfield or Lancaster to get it.

All that soon could be a thing of the past when the new Sanderling Dialysis Center opens on Valley Boulevard. The center had an Open House on Nov. 3 to showcase what it will offer.

“It will save patients a lot of time to have something like this local,” said Dr. Jerome Tannenbaum, the founder of company. “We like to work in more rural areas, where patients have to travel long distances to access the critical services they need.”

The Tehachapi Sanderling Center is one of six such centers around the country. There also are centers in Missouri, Oklahoma and Nevada.

Many dialysis patients must travel an hour or more to facilities in Bakersfield or Lancaster, three times a week. The dialysis treatment usually lasts another three or four hours. It's a long day for anyone.

“We're so excited to be a part of this,” said Dr. Tariq Mubin, who will head the new facility. “There is a definite need. We already have more than a dozen people waiting for us to open.”

It still will be another month or two before Sanderling officially opens to the public, said Deborah Tannenbaum, Sanderling's executive vice-president,

“We still need to get a few more permits from the state and a few more checks to make sure everything is in compliance with all the health codes,” she said. “This facility will make it easier for patients to live in the community where they get their healthcare needs, and not have to move closer to them.”

Dianne Hunter, a dialysis patient who lives in Alpine, said this facility will be a “Godsend.”

“I've had to travel to Bakersfield for treatment for the past two years,” she said. “I've been doing it on my own, but it's very tiring. It also gets scary in bad weather, not knowing if I can get there or back. This will save so much time. It will be a great addition to the community.”

Tehachapi City Manager Greg Garrett agreed.

“This adds to the quality of life for us,” Garrett noted at the Open House. “It's nice to know we will have more choices when it comes to medical care. It's an investment in our city.”

Dr. Tannenbaum said at some point they also will be able to set up programs for patients to have the dialysis in their homes.

“It will make it more convenient for those who work to come home, eat dinner, be with their kids, and then go through the process of the dialysis,” he said. “We also will be able to help support the needs of the new hospital once all those contracts are worked out.”

Dr. Mubin noted the center will offer telemedicine.

“If we can't physically be there, we can do it over the computer, and actually see the patients,” he said. “We'll be able do all the vital signs and more.”

“This is so exciting that we will have this in Tehachapi,” said Mayor Susan Wiggins, who also attended the Open House. “I have a friend who can't wait for it to open and not have to travel.”

The Sanderling Dialysis Center will be located at 711 W. Valley Blvd. For more information, go to srs-usa.com.