FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Proposition 29, one of the many propositions on the November ballot, would bring about multiple changes to dialysis clinics throughout the state, but how would this affect patients, clinics, and Californians in general?
Dialysis treatments are for people who suffer from some kind of kidney failure. The kidneys are responsible for filtering a person’s blood by removing extra waste and fluid. Dialysis treatment is when a machine takes a kidney’s place by filtering a person’s blood outside of the body and then streaming it back in.
More than 80,000 Californians receive dialysis treatment according to the state Department of Justice. A person receiving dialysis will often get treatment three times a week and spend four hours on each treatment.
Prop. 29 would require all clinics throughout the state to have an on-site physician during all hours of operation. If there is a shortage of licensed healthcare workers available to monitor treatments a clinic may apply for an exception from the state. This exception would allow clinics to have a physician on-site by phone. This new requirement would raise the expenses of clinics by paying a physician to be on staff.
Another change that would come to dialysis clinics if the proposition passes is a new requirement to give patients a list of owners who own 5% or more of the business. Currently, 75% of the for-profit dialysis clinics are owned by two for-profit companies, according to the California Legislation Anaylysts’ Office
The last major change would require all dialysis clinics to provide treatment to all patients equally – no matter who or how they are paying.
This is the third time a dialysis bill has been on the California ballot. In the last two elections, California voters have rejected the proposed changes to dialysis clinics.
Those who oppose the measure claim the bill proposition would put 80,000 patients at risk, raise the average cost of health care, and overcrowd emergency rooms.
While those who support legislature say it would provide medical protections for a process that leaves patients vulnerable during the hours-long process.