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      RGA Opens Infusion Center for IBD Patients

      Rockford Gastroenterology Associates is pleased to now offer infusion services for individuals living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn's disease or Ulcerative Colitis.

      IBD is a chronic digestive condition that requires close monitoring of symptoms and medications. The infusion center allows patients to receive their specific infusion medication at the same clinic where they see their RGA doctors and nurses.

      The center opened this January and shares space with RGA's main clinic and endoscopy center at 401 Roxbury Road in Rockford. More than 100 patients have used the services so far, and the center has three dedicated nursing team members who have already developed a deep bond with patients, said Erica Natal, RGA's clinical administrator.

      "Our patients have been raving about it," Natal said. "They've really connected with the nurses, and they love that those same nurses care for them from beginning to end. We wanted to create a really comfortable space for them."

      There are four infusion chairs, and the services run Monday through Friday. The whole process can last anywhere from an hour to three hours depending on the medication, and patients usually repeat the process every four to eight weeks.

      RGA wanted to open the center to help improve access to care for patients and provide a more cost-effective option for infusions in a clinic setting.

      "We can now offer IBD patients complete care under our roof, which helps bring their care full circle," Natal said. "This helps more closely monitor how they're doing, keeps them on schedule and improves communication between the team."

      As of now, the infusion center is just being used for IBD patients, but Natal said the center does allow RGA to participate in more opportunities to care for the community.