More than 50 organizations representing doctors, patients, nurses, veterans, dialysis caregivers, clinics, hospitals and businesses oppose SB 349 (Lara)
For Immediate Release: July 20, 2017 Contact: Kathy Fairbanks, 916-443-0872
More than 50 organizations representing doctors, patients, nurses, veterans, dialysis caregivers, clinics, hospitals and businesses oppose SB 349 (Lara).
Dialysis clinic staffing ratio bill will reduce patient access to dialysis treatments.SACRAMENTO – More than 50 respected organizations, representing doctors, dialysis patients, nurses, veterans, dialysis technicians, clinics, hospitals and businesses have joined DialysisPatients1st, the coalition formed to defeat SB 349, the union sponsored bill to mandate staffing ratios at dialysis clinics. The coalition now includes fifty-six groups. In addition, thousands of individuals have sent letters, tweets and calls to legislators, and who have met with them in person to object to the bill that will reduce patients’ access to life-saving dialysis. A complete coalition list can be found at the end of this release. Key groups opposed to SB 349 include the Renal Physicians Association, California Hospital Association, National Medical Association, National Hispanic Medical Association, California Association of Rural Health Clinics, American Nurses Association of California, Chronic Disease Coalition, Lupus Foundation of Southern California, American Legion, Department of California, Vietnam Veterans of American, California State Council, California Chamber of Commerce and Los Angeles County Business Federation. SB 349 is sponsored by a labor union, United Healthcare Workers West (UHW), which is seeking to unionize dialysis clinic workers. SB 349 establishes rigid mandatory staffing ratios for technicians, nurses, social workers and dieticians in dialysis clinics. Under SB 349 clinics have two choices. To treat their current patient load, clinics will have to hire additional staff to meet the ratio requirements. But if hiring more people is not financially feasible – which will be the case for many clinics in low-income and rural areas in Fresno – dialysis clinics will have to cut the number of patients they treat. This is bad policy, especially since there’s no evidence that staffing ratios lead to better quality patient care. In fact, objective data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which regulates dialysis clinics nationwide, show that California’s clinics outperform clinics in other states, including states that already have mandated ratios. California leads in both patient satisfaction and clinical quality scores. About SB 349: SB 349 would mandate rigid staffing ratios at dialysis clinics and adds a 45-minute “time out” transition time between patient appointments. Doctors, nurses, patients and dialysis clinics warn the bill is:
- Dangerous for Patients – Arbitrary staff ratios and specified “time outs” between treatments would result in fewer available appointments, more missed treatments and a dangerous backlog of needed care. California already faces a shortage of dialysis clinics and appointment times, as well as staff. SB 349 will reduce the availability of treatment slots, increasing hospitalizations and emergency room visits, and will end in less flexibility for working patients as evening and overnight treatments would be jeopardized.
- Costly for California and Medi-Cal – According to the Senate Appropriations Committee analysis of SB 349: “By imposing staffing requirements that exceed current practices in chronic dialysis clinics, the bill will increase the costs to operate those clinics. This is likely to increase Medi-Cal managed care payments to chronic dialysis clinics…. To the extent that chronic dialysis clinics have difficulty meeting the required staff to patient ratios, it is possible that patients would seek treatment in emergency departments and/or hospital inpatient dialysis units. Receiving dialysis in those settings is likely to be substantially more expensive than receiving dialysis in a clinic. Any such increases in the cost to provide dialysis would impact Medi-Cal.”
- Unnecessary – Federal data collected by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) show that California dialysis clinics outperform dialysis clinics nationwide in both clinical quality and patient satisfaction, including outperforming states with some form of mandated staffing ratios.