Impact from the Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection Act could be felt in Ohio, California
WASHINGTON — Legislation that relates to the Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection Act can be affected by using direct participatory democracy, according to two speakers at the Renal Physicians Association’s Nephrology Coverage Advocacy Program Forum.
Bryan Wong, MD, a board member from the California Dialysis Council, and Henry L. Wehrum, DO, a private-practice nephrologist from Ohio, spoke about their efforts to address the California Fair Pricing for Dialysis Act and the Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection Amendment, respectively.
Specifically, Wong spoke about California Senate Bill 349, the Dialysis Patient Safety Act, which he called “in essence, a staffing ratio bill.” He also spoke about California Assembly Bill 251, which mandates minimum expenditures of 85% of “treatment revenue” on the sum of direct patient care services costs, health care quality improvement costs, and taxes and fees. He called Assembly Bill 251 a companion bill to Senate Bill 349.
“If this initiative becomes law, it will reduce clinic size and, in my case, very likely will result in clinic closures,” Wong said. “It will impact the patient access to clinics, in the location and what shift they can get.”
Wehrum spoke about the specifics the proposed amendment in Ohio would mandate, noting it would require a dialysis clinic operating entity to rebate payers the amount that dialysis treatment revenue exceeds the “reasonable charges for dialysis treatments, defined as 15% of certain defined costs.”
“One has to ask oneself ‘Is it correct for the state of Ohio to intervene in any given business?’ In this case, a medical care-providing business but a business on one hand,” said Wehrum. “Should the state of Ohio have a constitutional amendment to deal with this?”
He questioned whether states should be able to regulate other businesses such as the jewelry business.
Both speakers noted that unions play a part in legislation being passed. Wong noted that organizations are attempting to unionize dialysis clinics and have been trying to do so for years. – by Jake Scott
Reference: Wong B, et al. Potential impact of Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection Act. Presented at: Renal Physicians Association’s Nephrology Coverage Advocacy Program Forum; June 23-24, 2018; Washington.
Disclosures: Wong reports he is a medical director at Fresenius Medical Care and a DaVita Dialysis partner. Wehrum reports he is a medical director at Fresenius Medical Care and DaVita outpatient hemodialysis clinics in central Ohio