ONEIDA — Oneida has a dialysis center again for the first time in three years, meaning area patients no longer have to drive to Rome, Syracuse, Utica or beyond three times a week.

The Dialysis Center of Oneida opened in the Glenwood Shopping Plaza in September with eight dialysis chairs — one an isolation chair for hepatitis B patients — treating patients in two shifts. And Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare will open an eight-chair unit in downtown Oneida in January.

The dialysis center, which is operated by Utica Partners LLC, has been drawing patients from Oneida, Canastota, Chittenango, Rome, Camden and Sylvan Beach, said Michelle Hansen, clinic manager. She’s not worried about patients being spread too thin once the health system unit opens.

“I think there’s going to be enough patients (for both),” Hansen said. “In the surrounding areas, they don’t have anybody. The closest place to go to receive treatment is Syracuse, which is in the city. I don’t know about anybody else, in the winter, the city is not a fun place to drive.”

Oneida’s last dialysis center, operated by Faxton St. Luke’s, closed in July 2014 after losing its lease. Faxton St. Luke’s officials said they weren’t able to find another suitable site in time. So patients who were receiving dialysis in Oneida had to spread out to find enough slots in other area dialysis centers.

“It has been a few years since our previous location closed and we are happy to be able to provide these services to our patients in the Oneida area again,” said Lila Studnicka, executive director of Renal Dialysis Services for the Mohawk Valley Health System, parent of Faxton St. Luke’s. “We know it has been challenging for the patients as they have had to travel longer to receive their treatments.”

Originally both providers filed certificate of need applications with the the New York State Department of Health in 2014. Finding both applications more or less identical, the state Public Health and Planning Council recommended approval of the Faxton St. Luke’s application, determining that its cost per treatment would be cheaper.

Utica Partners sued and eventually the state worked out a deal whereby it would approve both applications.

At the Dialysis Center, one older woman who now is a patient, used to drive more than an hour three days a week for dialysis, Hansen said.

“With her getting a little older, it’s becoming a little more difficult," Hansen said. "So now that she’s here, its 10 minutes, not even, down the road. That improves her quality of life by, I’m sure, 80 percent at this point.”

Contact reporter Amy Neff Roth at 315-792-5166 or follow her on Twitter (@OD_Roth).