LOS ANGELES — A few hundred people gathered around boxes of petitions, some
bringing pictures of lost loved ones; others bringing horror stories.
“The most disturbing thing for tho is actually watching someone in their chair next to you die. It’s really unsettling, because I’m in the same position.”
The SEIU, dialysis workers, and patients submitted hundreds of thousands of signatures for a ballot initiative: The Fair Pricing for Dialysis Act.
The initiative, which has collected over 600,000 signatures would put tighter regulations on the mostly privately owned $3.9 billion industry.
It would create staffing ratios, more frequent inspections, and would also require companies to reinvest some their profits.
“It will improve our services to the patients also the workers it will help us. Most of the time we are understaffed. When we say understaffed there are only a few technicians on the floor and the ratio is too much for us,” said Eda Deperio.
The industry is home to a large number of Filipino workers like dialysis nurse Eda Deperio, who says it would help address staffing and hygiene issues.
“Some units I heard it improved but in Montebello it’s the same, most of the time its understaffed. So technicians and nurses have difficulty cleaning machines or taking care of their patients because lack of manpower.”
A oalitionc which includes dialysis companies, and business groups has formed to oppose the ballot measure.
Some members were present during the petition delivery. They say California is already one of the most heavily regulated states when it comes to dialysis, and the bill would have a negative impact on patients.
“The numbers just don’t add up on this initiative if you’re going to decrease what an insurance company pays for a treatment it’s going to stop us from being able to provide access for that treatment. Centers will close its going, patient will get limited to access to where they can get treatment they will get sick and they will die,” said Michelle George.
County and state officials will now review the signatures before placing it in the November ballot.
Before this ballot initiative, a state Senate bill with similar provisions had been making its way through the California legislature. It was shelved last September but may be brought up for a possible vote this year.