(Columbus) – Ohioans Against the Reckless Dialysis Amendment, representing more than 20 dialysis care, patient and medical groups, expressed the coalition’s strong opposition to the proposed reckless dialysis constitutional amendment. Today, the amendment sponsor was given a ten-day “cure” period to collect additional signatures after failing to submit the required number of valid signatures to qualify for this November’s statewide ballot.
Ohio Renal Association President Diane Wish said, “we look forward to educating Ohioans on the problems this proposed constitutional amendment carelessly causes, putting the health of Ohio’s kidney dialysis patients at needless risk. This proposal is especially dangerous for Ohioans in disadvantaged, underserved or sparsely populated areas of our state, where it would force some dialysis clinics to cut back, consolidate or close, reducing access to quality care.
“We strongly oppose this amendment and are pleased to be joined in opposition by other Ohio dialysis patient advocates such as the Kidney Foundation of Ohio, who have served Ohio dialysis patients for many years,” Wish said. Wish, a registered nurse with more than 40 years of experience providing dialysis treatment, has served since 1983 as CEO of the nonprofit Centers for Dialysis Care, which operates 17 facilities in the Cleveland area.
In addition to the Ohio Renal Association and the Kidney Foundation of Ohio, opponents include the Ohio State Medical Association, the Ohio Osteopathic Association and the Ohio Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. A complete list of opponents can be found here.
“This issue is a poor attempt to fix a problem that doesn’t exist,” said opposition coalition spokesman Gene Pierce. “Ohio dialysis clinics are already subject to strict regulations that are enforced by both state and federal healthcare agencies.”
The proposed amendment was written by the California-based SEIU-UHW, which is sponsoring a similar proposal (Proposition 8), now scheduled to appear on the California ballot November 6. The SEIU financed a paid petition drive, with hundreds of paid circulators from out of state, to gather signatures in Ohio in recent months.
The proposed Constitutional Amendment would mandate arbitrary revenue limits for Ohio dialysis clinics and require rebates to private health insurance companies if revenues exceeded those arbitrary limits. The proposal has no requirement that any savings be passed on to patients, nor does the rebate provision apply to the nearly nine out of ten Ohio dialysis patients who are covered by Medicare, Medicaid or other government programs such as the Veterans Health Administration.
The estimated 18,000 Ohioans suffering from end stage renal disease (ESRD) typically receive life-preserving dialysis treatments in a clinic three times a week, with each visit taking three to four hours. According to national research, missing even one dialysis treatment increases the patient’s risk of death by 30 per cent.