SACRAMENTO, CA – Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) released this statement on the Dialysis Patient Safety Act (SB 349):
“I introduced the Dialysis Patient Safety Act in response to the shocking stories I heard from patients and workers about lack of protections and oversight in this rapidly expanding industry. Dialysis in California is a billion-dollar industry yet we treat it like a Wild West with bare minimum standards.
“With kidney disease on the rise in African American and Latino communities, our patients deserve to know that California treats these facilities that give life-preserving treatment in the same way we do hospitals and nursing homes, with safe staffing, patient-conscious practices and regular inspections.
“According to reports from workers, SB 349 has spurred the dialysis industry to implement lower patient-provider ratios and minimum patient transition times. But self-policing alone is not enough and will continue to put patient safety at risk.
“I have already amended SB 349 to give the Department of Public Health the ability to create a waiver process for rural clinics and to issue regulations on transition times.
“To give this process time to develop, I will not seek a vote in the Assembly before the end of session and will bring SB 349 up for consideration when the Legislature reconvenes later this year after we have conducted stakeholder meetings. I will invite industry, workers’ groups, patient groups, advocates and the administration to work together in the coming months to find common ground that protects patient safety and increases oversight.”