Californians set to vote on physician role during dialysis
California voters will decide on Nov. 3 whether a physician needs to be present during all dialysis treatments in an outpatient clinic operating in the state.
Proposition 23, also known as the Protect the Lives of Dialysis Patient Act, also requires state department of health approval before a dialysis provider can close a clinic and mandates dialysis providers submit quarterly reports on infection rates to the state.
“A doctor on site will be able to respond to emergencies such as cardiac arrest, bleeding, dangerous fluctuations in blood pressure and other common problems associated with dialysis treatment,” supporters of the ballot measure wrote on the YesOn23 website.
“The physician will also oversee the quality of care, make sure procedures are followed, consistently assess the overall condition of the patients and watch for signs of potential problems.”
Health care workers union Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West organized the effort to get the proposition on the ballot. The union has been involved in both legislative and ballot-directed initiatives in the past that dealt with the dialysis industry.
The ballot initiative is opposed by dialysis providers and a coalition of state health care organizations, including the California Medical Association and the state chapter of the American Nurses Association, the California State Conference of the NAACP and the National Hispanic Medical Association. Major newspapers in the state have also written editorials opposing the ballot measure, according to noProp23, the organization opposing the measure. The group has received funding from DaVita Inc. and Fresenius Medical Care, which treat 75% of dialysis patients in the state.
“Prop 23 hurts poor, underserved and disadvantaged communities the most,” according to a noProp23.com press release, and is the “special interest proposition that would seriously jeopardize access to care for tens of thousands of vulnerable dialysis patients, make our state’s physician shortage and ER overcrowding worse, all while increasing health care costs by hundreds of millions annually.”
“With more and more people, especially Latinos, African Americans and low-income persons of any race developing kidney failure and relying on dialysis, Prop 23 takes us all in the wrong direction, putting dialysis patients’ lives in unnecessary danger,” Randy Munoz, vice chair of Latino Diabetes Association, said in the press release.