The Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, which has advocated for a ballot question in the California November elections regarding how much profit dialysis providers should earn, now advocates for the same issue in Ohio.

The Ohioans for Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection, backed by the SEIU-UHW, launched a signature gathering event on February 21 in Columbus to advocate for a legislative amendment limiting dialysis corporations’ revenues to 15% above the amount they spend on patient care, and require annual inspections of dialysis clinics in the state. Organizers must collect the signatures of 305,591 Ohio voters and submit them to election officials by early July for the amendment to make it onto the November ballot.

In a statement to NN&I, Ohio Renal Association president Diane Wish, MBA, RN, said, “This proposed initiative appears to be an outgrowth of a similar union-sponsored effort in California. As is the case there, this poorly drafted ballot proposal would ultimately limit access to dialysis treatment for patients in Ohio. If this initiative were enacted, it could force dialysis clinics in Ohio to either close or severely cut back services.”

A $3.5 million national media campaign funded by the SEIU-UHW was launched on February 5 in California, featuring ads on national cable networks, consumer health websites, social media and in newspapers. The ads indicated that the dialysis industry faces problems, including understaffing, unsanitary conditions and overcharging patients, according to the SEIU-UHW. The Patients and Caregivers to Protect Dialysis Patients – an advocacy group primarily funded by dialysis providers in California – has labelled the campaign as “deceptive and dangerous.” – by Mark E. Neumann