Dialysis patient care initiative qualifies for November ballot in California

A statewide ballot initiative focused on care at dialysis clinics across California has qualified for the November ballot.

In April, healthcare workers represented by the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West submitted about 600,000 signatures to California county election officials to qualify the issue for the ballot. The California Secretary of State's Office revealed May 30 that the initiative received the 365,880 valid voter signatures necessary for that qualification. The union's deadline to decide if they want to keep the initiative on the ballot is June 28.

If passed, the Fair Pricing for Dialysis Act would limit how much outpatient kidney dialysis clinics may charge for patient care, according to the Attorney General's official title and summary of the initiative. It also would penalize clinics for excessive charges, and requires clinics report information about clinic costs, patient charges, and revenue to the state each year. Additionally, clinics would be barred from discriminating against patients due to how they pay for care.

Supporters, such as the union, praise the initiative as a way to spur dialysis corporations to invest more in patient care. However, opponents, including a coalition of  nearly 100 groups such as the California Medical Association and emergency room physicians, argue clinics won't be able to cover their operating costs, dozens of clinics will close, and patients will lose access to dialysis if the initiative passes. 

There are 66,000 dialysis patients in California, according to information from the U.S. Renal Data System cited by California Healthline. DaVita Kidney Care and Fresenius Medical Care are the main dialysis players in the state. 

 

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the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West

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