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California Voters Will Once Again Weigh in on Dialysis Clinic Regulations

Spectrum News 1 October 21, 2020 By Daniela Pardo and Van Nuys

California voters will once again have the chance to decide whether dialysis clinics should have stricter regulations at their facilities. Voters rejected a ballot measure in 2018, but now supporters are asking Californians to reconsider with Proposition 23.

A yes vote on Prop. 23 would require dialysis clinics to have at least one physician present at all times. However, many opponents say this is not necessary and things are working fine the way they are.

What You Need To Know

  • A yes vote on Prop. 23 would require dialysis clinics to have at least one physician present at all times
  • Voters rejected a similar ballot measure in 2018
  • DeWayne Cox, a dialysis patient who gets treatment three times a week at a clinic in Van Nuys, says he’s worried about what could happen to his center if Prop. 23 passes
  • Cox worries that several clinics would close due to the increased cost of adding more doctors coupled with California’s current physician shortage

DeWayne Cox, a dialysis patient who gets treatment three times a week at a clinic in Van Nuys, says he’s worried about what could happen to his center after the general election.

Cox first moved to Los Angeles in the 1980s with dreams of working in the film and TV industry. Now decades later, Cox credits dialysis for allowing him to still live out his career goals as a filmmaker.

“While I wish I weren’t on dialysis, I am, and I know that’s what’s going to keep me alive so I embrace it,” Cox said.

For the last 10 years, he’s learned to adapt to a new lifestyle. Cox says he works less than before because he spends five hours at his dialysis clinic three times a week.

“It’s more than just a dialysis center that people go to three days a week. It is an anchor, it’s a home,” Cox explained.

During the last couple of years, Cox has had multiple surgeries and even lost his home because he wasn’t able to work as much. But in the midst of this adversity, he says the one thing that’s remained constant in his life is his dialysis center.

“It’s one of my joys — the interaction I have with other patients — it really is. We even do karaoke during the holiday time,” Cox said.

Cox says he’s concerned about possible changes at his clinic if California voters approve Proposition 23, which would increase regulations at 600 state clinics. The same group behind this measure promised to put it on the ballot this year after it failed to pass two years ago.

“I was frightened in 2018 when they had Proposition 8, and I’m even more frightened this time,” Cox added.

Now in its second attempt, the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers [SEIU-UHW], which is the union that represents healthcare workers, is asking voters to approve the requirement that each dialysis clinic has a licensed physician on site at all times.

“It’s unnecessary. I have my nephrologist, which is my kidney doctor, who visits me at my dialysis center every week,” Cox said.

Proponents of the initiative don’t agree that this care goes far enough. However, opponents like Cox worry that several clinics would close due to the increased cost of adding more doctors coupled with California’s current physician shortage.

“If there are clinics that are having problems, fix those clinics. Identify the problem and address them, but don’t just take a broad machete across the board and put dialysis patients in general in danger,” Cox said.

For now, Cox is hoping he won’t have to make further life adjustments around his health and that Californians will vote once again to keep dialysis centers the same.
For more information on Proposition 23, visit here