After celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2018, Nephrology Associates of Syracuse PC, enters its fifth decade of providing convenient, comprehensive care for chronic kidney disease (CKD) and related conditions while staying true to its roots as an independent practice that puts patients first.
The team at the Nephrology Associates of Syracuse PC
Since its establishment in Syracuse in 1978, Nephrology Associates has grown into a regional provider that receives a steady stream of referrals for patients with kidney disease and manages the complex care of individuals receiving hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis. From their main office at 1304 Buckley Road in Syracuse, members of the Nephrology Associates provider team — which includes six nephrologists who are board-certified in both nephrology and internal medicine, three nurse practitioners, two physician assistants and a registered dietitian — travel to satellite locations in Auburn, Camillus, Fayetteville, Fulton and Oneida on a monthly basis so patients can receive care close to where they live and work.
“We treat acute kidney failure, for which my colleagues and I frequently provide ICU consultations, and we diagnose, manage and treat CKD,” says Philip Ondocin, MD, nephrologist at Nephrology Associates. “We also treat diabetes and hypertension — two of our physicians, myself included, are clinical hypertension specialists — and provide medical management of kidney transplant patients both before and after transplantation.”
Dialysis Management and Transplant Preparation
The team at Nephrology Associates treats all forms of kidney disease, from mild or moderate cases to individuals with renal failure who require dialysis, which is available at the practice’s flagship office in Syracuse and dialysis centers throughout Central New York.
Jackie Spencer, NP, and Joanna Woodruff, NP
“Our goal is to help patients avoid dialysis unless it’s absolutely necessary, and the vast majority never need it,” Dr. Ondocin says. “That’s a product of close monitoring and patient education. When patients require dialysis, it’s usually because of progressive disease, fluid overload that can’t be managed with diuretics, acidemia, high serum potassium or other electrolyte abnormalities.”
A nephrologist provider sees each patient receiving hemodialysis weekly; for peritoneal dialysis patients, monthly appointments are standard. Nephrologists ensure all dialysis patients are current with necessary tests and, as appropriate, help optimize their health prior to kidney transplantation. Patients on dialysis are living longer and better, but their best hope for long-term survival is receiving a donor kidney, according to Dr. Ondocin.
“We work collaboratively with transplant programs in the region to ensure patients receive appropriate care,” says Adebowale Oguntola, MD, nephrologist at Nephrology Associates. “We have a referral network of specialists that helps us with the multidisciplinary approach necessary for this level of patient complexity.”
Nephrology Associates offers a variety of services and programs to complement its providers’ clinical expertise, including:
- An award-winning, on-site laboratory. Located in the flagship office in Syracuse, Nephrology Associates’ laboratory, under the direction of nephrologist Simardeep Mangat, MD, recently received the Laboratory Excellence Award from COLA, a leading laboratory accreditation organization.
“Having an in-house laboratory makes our jobs easier by giving us quick access to the information we need to make medical decisions,” Dr. Oguntola says. “For the laboratory to be recognized by a national regulatory body such as COLA, which conducted a rigorous on-site survey as part of the evaluation process for the Laboratory Excellence Award, is something we’re quite proud of.”
- An anemia and iron clinic. Anemia and diminished iron levels are common problems for individuals with CKD. Nephrology Associates offers in-office subcutaneous injections of the drug Aranesp and intravenous infusions of the drug Venofer in Syracuse to help patients avoid the need for blood transfusions.
- A vaccination program. CKD can weaken the immune system, leaving patients vulnerable to infections, including hepatitis B. Nephrology Associates offers vaccinations for hepatitis B, flu and other viruses.
- Medical nutritional counseling. Available with a physician’s referral, a registered dietitian can meet with patients to discuss how to read food labels and offer tips for managing sodium, protein and potassium intake — important components of living with CKD.
- Education for patients and families. “Kidney disease, especially CKD, can be a burden psychologically, physically and financially, so we offer educational programs facilitated by our physician extenders,” Dr. Oguntola says. “When patients and families have questions, these programs provide an opportunity for them to get answers, as well as learn about what kidney disease entails, what lifestyle adjustments to prepare for, insurance issues, the transplantation process and more.”
Patients with stage 4 CKD and their families can enroll in a series of six educational workshops offered by a nurse practitioner and physician assistants. The program covers all aspects of CKD, including complications and treatment options.
Forging an Independent Future
As Nephrology Associates looks toward the future and the milestone of a half-century of serving patients in Central New York, it plans to remain true to its past and present in an important respect: retaining its status as an independent, private practice. That, Dr. Ondocin says, is key to its ability to offer the best possible care to patients.
“We value our independence,” he says. “If we were owned by another entity, it might sway how many patients we could see or how long they could stay in the hospital. Staying independent helps us maintain our quality and allows us to treat patients as we see fit. As a result, we’re able to deliver consistently excellent care.”
For Dr. Oguntola, the challenge and opportunity of the future is for Nephrology Associates to enhance its services while maintaining a culture where everyone — from physicians to midlevel providers to administrators — is free to grow and apply his or her talents to improve patient care.
(l-r)- Alyssa Miles, PA, Tracy O’Neill, PA, Marcia Ryder, NP, and Matthew Kertesz, RD
“The success of our medical practice is built on the efforts of our clinical and administrative staff in collaboration with our physicians. Dr. Oguntola believes the practice is up to the task,” says Anne Zaccheo, MBA, FACMPE, Practice Administrator, echoing the sentiments of Dr. Oguntola.
“When you’re engaged in work that you’re passionate about and feel empowered to do it, that’s the foundation for great care,” Dr. Oguntola says. “We will continue to operate in a way that helps us stand out as excellent clinicians who enjoy serving our community.”
For more information about Nephrology Associates, visit nephrologysyracuse.com or call 315-478-3311.