COLUMBUS, Ohio – Voters in Ohio strongly support a proposed initiative for the Nov. 6, 2018 ballot that seeks to improve patient care at dialysis clinics in the state, according to a recent poll of likely Ohio voters.

“People with kidney failure who are on dialysis are some of the most vulnerable patients I see and they deserve to receive better treatment in dialysis clinics,” said Dr. Ean Bett, a physician with OhioHealth, a non-profit health system based in Columbus. “I endorse this ballot initiative because it stops dialysis corporations from cutting corners and putting patients’ lives at risk.”

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 often must go to a clinic three days a week, for three to four hours each time.

Sixty-seven percent of respondents support the initiative, including 78 percent of Democrats, 62 percent of Republicans and 61 percent of Independents. The poll of 600 likely 2018 voters was conducted May 9-13 by Benenson Strategy Group.

The measure, known as the Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection Amendment, would do the following:

  • require annual inspections of dialysis clinics;
  • limit how much clinics can charge for patient care;
  • require annual reporting of patient care charges by dialysis clinics; and
  • impose penalties for overcharging for patient care.

Patient advocates are on track to collect the signatures of 305,591 Ohio registered 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. The two corporations charged private insurance companies an average of 350 percent above the actual cost of treatment last year.

DaVita and Fresenius have a near monopoly in the state. 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.

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