Kidney Care of Oregon, originally known as Eugene Springfield Nephrology Associates and affectionately termed “ESNA”, was started in 1973. It began as Dr. Fergus and her husband were recruited to teach at the University of Oregon in the 1960’s.
Dr. Emily Fergus saw the need for supporting the growing population with kidney disease and the associated conditions that affect kidney function. Dr. Fergus, the first female nephrologist in the state, recruited Dr. Matt Purvis in 1973. Together they took on another exciting first for the state, opening a dialysis center outside of Portland. It was the trailblazing mindset of these two that grew the practice to include Dr. James Walker in 1977 and Dr. Reed Kratka in 1987. This team of four provided care to patients from the coast to the cascade range.
In addition to in-clinic care, the practice grew to include hospital care and dialysis center care. Charles Zachem D.O. joined the group in 1997 and the group transitioned to a pure nephrology practice. Over the following years, they grew in practice size, but not scope. The group developed a robust plasmapheresis program, significantly expanded home dialysis, and greatly innovated inpatient care for patients with Acute Kidney Injury. This was done by developing a Continuous Renal Replacement program at Sacred Heart Medical Center.
In an effort to help reach Oregonians with Chronic Kidney Disease and End-Stage Renal Disease outside the Eugene/Springfield area, a special waiver from Medicare to provide telemedicine to rural areas was obtained in 2003. This was well ahead of the telemedicine curve that became the norm years later. Kidney Care of Oregon has since welcomed an amazing team of physicians including Drs. Gutheim, Sanghvi, Labib, Marahatta, Hartley, De Mory, Decker and Mallea. To further the development of nephrology, the practice is also proud to have in its ranks Advanced Practice Clinicians, Ms. Brooks, Ms. Barton, and Mr. Wood.
In 2022, as part of the appreciation for the growth and development of the first 50 years, leadership acknowledged the reach of this team goes far beyond Eugene and Springfield the practice rebranded under the name Kidney Care of Oregon (Kidney Care). This group has remained independent and expects to remain independent into the future.
Kidney Care of Oregon’s partnership with hospitals, health plans, and other independent groups ensures that the care once envisioned by the founding members continues to be a trailblazer in the state and beyond—with scientifically sound practices, maximizing technology, and a commitment to the highest levels of patient care.
Kidney Care of Oregon supports the expansion of nephrology by partnering with OHSU and Pacific University to further the growth and development of new practitioners, as well as having students come from out of state areas to shadow and learn from the amazing team that is here today.
We will continue to grow and develop, always holding to our core belief that the needs of the patient come first. It is with what we learned in the first 50 years of delivering patient care that we can expand this mindset and practice for the next 50 years. As Isaac Newton, the famous English scientist, once said, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”