Update April 2017: The Judiciary Committee for the California State Senate has approved Senate bill 349. The bill will now advance to the Senate Appropriations Committee for a hearing in May. Read more

Update March 29: SB 349 advanced out of the out of California’s Senate Health Committee on March 29 by a 6-2 vote, despite a well-organized effort by dialysis providers to kill off the proposed legislation. Read more

A new bill introduced in the California Senate would set minimum staffing requirements for dialysis clinics and establish a minimum transition time, 45 minutes, between patients at a treatment station. The bill was introduced by State Senator Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens.

Read also: California staff ratio bill includes tough penalties for noncompliant dialysis clinics 

SB 349, the Dialysis Patient Safety Act, would also mandate annual inspections of dialysis clinics. Current law requires inspections of dialysis clinics every six years, while nursing homes in California must be inspected every year, and hospitals every two years.

Read also: Dialysis providers, union take sides in California over staffing ratios

The bill proposes the following mandatory staffing ratios for dialysis clinics in California:

  • Registered nurses: 1:8
  • Patient care technicians: 1:3
  • Social workers: 1:75

Opposition to the bill

The California Dialysis Council, an organization of dialysis providers in the state, said that mandated staffing ratios would harm dialysis patients, especially those reliant on the state’s Medicaid program Medi-Cal. According to the group, the bill would restrict facility flexibility, reduce available treatment shifts, lead to centers closing, and limit access to certain modalities like nocturnal dialysis.

Do you think minimum staffing requirements would improve dialysis patient outcomes?