Over 35 years of tradition in outpatient health care in Markgräflerland

The history of our practice is closely linked to the historical development of dialysis treatment, as well as to the associated progress in medical technology.

Renal replacement therapy was introduced in Germany in 1968. In the mid-70s it was still a young branch of medical patient treatment, and was carried out only in large centres, as well as at the University Hospital in Freiburg. Due to the increasing therapeutic demand for dialysis treatments, it soon faced capacity constraints. In order on the one had to serve the increasing number of patients, and on the other hand to satisfy the desire for community-based treatment, the creation of new dialysis facilities outside large hospital centres was unavoidable. These were especially intended to meet the special equipment needs of patients with chronic kidney disorders.

Our dialysis centre in Müllheim was founded in 1977 as the first independent dialysis facility in South Baden, outside of Freiburg, under the direction of Dr. med. Herwig Boeckle (then Assistant Professor of Medicine, University Hospital of Freiburg) and his wife, Barbara Boeckle (Dialysis Nurse and Practice Manager). Stemming from this centre, other branches were founded in Schopfheim, Waldshut, Lörrach, and Bad Krozingen. The administrative and logistical organization was centrally controlled for all centres by the DTZ (Dialysetrainingszentrum/Dialysis Training Centre). From the beginning, the duties of the decentralized internal medicine nephrologists (kidney specialists) included outpatient care, along with consiliary care of the locally-based clinics. These health services by trained specialists were then, as they are now, very gladly provided, because the quality of hospital patient care in these clinics was thereby increased, sparing the patient the transfer to the University Hospital of Freiburg, with its attendant long transport time. Starting with the early example of health care in Markgräflerland, over the years there thus developed what is today still touted by health experts in Germany: the synergistic integration of outpatient and inpatient care as integrated patient care.

Dialysezentrum in Müllheim

The dialysis centre in Müllheim was initially housed in the ‘old Müllheimer hospital’ on Moltkestrasse, before new premises were acquired in 1992 on Werderstrasse, in the city centre. However, the disadvantages of this location were soon apparent: it was spatially too limited, too complicated for the patients, with long distances with respect to interdisciplinary diagnosis and therapy, and there were high personnel expenses for the additional consiliary care of in-patients at the local district hospital. At beginning of the new millennium new perspectives opened up for our practice through the planning and implementation of a completely new hospital building by the company ‘Helios-Kliniken’. It was therefore decided to utilize this fortunate opportunity, and to rent facilities in this building, where it was possible to move in 2006.

The dialysis centre in Bad Krozingen arose from the increasing demand for treatment of chronic renal patients who were going to the Herzzentrum (Hear Centre) for cardiac treatment. With the construction of a new ward building, our practice was able to move to new facilities here in 2007.

In 1979, the first acute dialysis was performed at the Bad Krozingen Herzzentrum/Heart Centre, on a young patient, who due to a sports injury had suffered a dissected aortic aneurysm, with subsequent renal failure. Professor Heinze (Senior Physician at the University Hospital of Freiburg) and Barbara Boeckle (Dialysis Nurse) successful performed the treatment. And this treatment was the start of a decades-long, fruitful collaboration between the Herzzentrum and our practice for the benefit of affected patients, continuing to this day.

The dialysis centre in Schopfheim has also developed considerably over the years, and has become an integral part in Wiesental outpatient and inpatient health care. In addition to a branch in the Kreiskrankenhaus Schopfheim (Schopfheim district hospital), patients are also treated in the district of Fahrnau, which has its own building complex.

The ever increasing demand for dialysis treatments has made it necessary over the years to increase medical and nursing personnel. Therefore in 1984 Dr. med. Rainer Kuhn joined the medical team, later followed by Dr. med. Maria Macner and Dr. med. Christine Reichert-Jünger. While Dr. Kuhn had more the role of enhancing the ‘headquarters’ in Müllheim, Dr. Macner and Dr. Reichert-Jünger gradually developed the centres in Schopfheim and Bad Krozingen. The number of employees continuously increased in line with the growing number of patients: at the founding in 1977 there were 8 people on the team. 35 years later, there are nearly 60 employees who are responsible for the areas of Care, Technology, Service, and Management. In keeping with our centre, over time the branches in Lörrach and Waldshut developed as standalone dialysis centres.

In 2007 the first generational change came about at our practice: Dr. med. Herwig Böckle and Dr. med. Rainer Kuhn retired from the practice due to age, and Prof. Dr. med. Martin Bek and Dr. med. Markus Cybulla took their places, along with Dr. Macner and with regard to medical and corporate responsibility.

Today the practice operates under the name “Fachinternistische Gemeinschaftspraxis Markgräflerland” (FGM) (The Markgräflerlandand Professional Internal Medicine Joint Practice), serving about 150 chronic dialysis and 60 renal transplant patients. In addition to the nephrological focus, the range of treatments has been expanded, among other things via treatment of patients with rheumatic diseases.