COLUMBUS, Ohio – Dialysis patient advocates launched signature gathering today for a ballot initiative for the November 2018 election in Ohio that seeks to improve patient care at the more than 300 kidney dialysis clinics in the state.

“Kidney patients are often in fragile health and it is unfair to take advantage of their need for this treatment,” said Anthony Caldwell, the ballot initiative’s proponent. “We think once Ohio voters hear what’s wrong with the dialysis industry, they’ll want to hold the corporations accountable and support qualifying this for the ballot.”

The Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection Amendment would limit dialysis corporations’ revenues to 15 percent above the amount they spend on patient care, and require annual inspections of dialysis clinics. Organizers must collect the signatures of 305,591 Ohio voters and submit them to election officials by early July.

The two largest dialysis corporations – DaVita and Fresenius – made a combined $3.9 billion in profits from their dialysis operations in the United States in 2016. Private insurance paid dialysis companies an average of 350 percent above the actual cost of treatment last year.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, 318 licensed dialysis clinics operate in the state, and DaVita or Fresenius owns 73 percent of them. In 2015, more than 18,000 Ohioans received treatment at dialysis clinics.

Advocates filed a similar ballot initiative in California for the November 2018 election. They have collected more than 558,000 signatures and expect to submit them to election officials for verification by April 11.

Dialysis is a life-saving procedure that removes a patient’s blood, cleans it, and then puts it back in his or her body. Patients must go to a clinic three days a week, for three to four hours each time.

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Paid for by Ohioans for Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection.