Last week, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and United Health Workers West (UHW) submitted petition signatures for a potential ballot initiative in November. If the signatures are approved, California voters will vote on measure to dramatically increase the cost of dialysis care. The same group backed a similar measure (Proposition 8) two years ago, which voters widely rejected.
DPC opposes the current ballot initiative because it adds burdensome requirements intended to drive up the cost of care for dialysis patients. One provision, in particular, would require a nephrologist to be present at all times at the dialysis facility whenever patients are dialyzing. Even if providers could overcome the already significant staffing shortages in nephrology, this would add hundreds of millions of dollars in expenses without any corresponding benefit to patients. Therefore, if the measure is approved by voters, it would likely lead to clinic closures and cutbacks at many of the 600 dialysis clinics operating throughout the state, while discouraging any potential future investment in new facilities. Rural clinics with a smaller number of patients, as well as those facilities serving disadvantaged communities with a higher percentage of poor and minority patients, would likely experience the most clinic disruptions, putting the most vulnerable dialysis patients at the greatest risk.
DPC has joined a broad coalition that includes other patient advocacy organizations, dialysis providers and caregivers, as well as groups representing physicians, nurses, veterans and social justice communities in opposing this dangerous and costly dialysis proposition. If this proposition makes it to the ballot box, DPC will work hard to defeat this dangerous initiative, like we did previously on Proposition 8. You can visit the coalition website to learn more about this ballot initiative and/or sign-up to receive informational alerts.