Legislation that would mandate staff to patient ratios in California dialysis clinics is scheduled to be heard by the California State Assembly Committee on Health June 26 at 1:30 p.m. PT. Senate Bill 349, called the Dialysis Patient Safety Act, passed the State Senate on a 24-15 vote May 31 and received its first reading before the State Assembly on June 1.

The bill includes a 1 to 75 patient to staff ratio for dietitians, 1 to 8 for nurses, 1 to 3 for patient care technicians, and 1 to 75 for dialysis social workers. The bill also proposes to establish a 45-minute transition period between treatments, and require state surveyors to inspect clinics at least once a year.

The bill has been amended five times since first introduced by Ricardo Lara, D-Desert Gardens, on Feb. 14. The latest version added dietitians to the ratio formula, and included significant changes to the penalties written into the bill’s original language. The revisions give the Department of Health (DOH) much wider discretion on specific penalties for clinics who do not meet the ratios.

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