CA Supreme Court Throws Out Group's Attempt to Remove Dialysis Initiative from Nov. 6 Ballot
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California’s Supreme Court recently rejected a dialysis group’s attempt to throw out a statewide ballot initiative that reins in dialysis company profits and invests more in patient care.
“The court’s order shows dialysis groups cannot silence the voice of voters who want to make sure quality and safe care for vulnerable patients with kidney failure are the focus, not massive industry profits,” said Dave Regan, president of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, which is the sponsor of the ballot initiative. “Opponents didn’t think they could stop this initiative at the ballot box, so they tried to stop it in the courts. It didn’t work.”
The court’s June 13 order denied a petition filed by Andrea Messina, the executive director of the California Dialysis Council, and the Patients and Caregivers to Protect Dialysis Patients to block the Fair Pricing in Dialysis Act from appearing on the Nov. 6 ballot. The measure officially qualified last month for the ballot, after nearly 600,000 California voters signed a petition in support of it.
The measure would push dialysis corporations to invest more in the treatment of patients with kidney failure and improve conditions in the clinics, where some patients or caregivers have reported incidents of cockroaches, mice, blood stains and dirty bathrooms.
More than 130 organizations support the initiative, including healthcare, veterans and community groups, civil rights and social justice organizations, churches and labor unions.
The two largest dialysis companies in California, DaVita and Fresenius, made a combined $3.9 billion in profits from their U.S. dialysis operations in 2016, and the profit margin of their clinics is nearly five times as high as an average hospital in California.
People with kidney failure must often undergo dialysis treatment three days a week at clinics to remove their blood, clean it, and put it back in their bodies. Each treatment lasts three to four hours.