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Network of Ethnic Physician Organizations Opposes Proposition 8 – the Dangerous Dialysis Proposition

August 6, 2018

Ethnic physicians join broad coalition of more than 100 organizations opposing measure that puts dialysis patient lives at risk

SACRAMENTO – Today, the No on Proposition 8 campaign announced that the Network of Ethnic Physician Organizations (NEPO) has formally opposed Proposition 8.

NEPO is coalition of more than 40 ethnic physician organizations in California and joins a broad coalition of more than 100 health advocates including the American Nurses Association\California; California Medical Association; American College of Emergency Physicians, California Chapter; and other groups representing doctors, nurses, patient advocates, veterans, community groups, and health care providers because the measure jeopardizes access to dialysis care that patients need to survive.

“Prop 8 is dangerous for all dialysis patients, and particularly for communities of color who have a higher incidence of kidney disease, and who live in areas where access to dialysis care is already strained. By forcing dialysis clinic reductions and closures, Prop 8 jeopardizes access to care for patients who need this critical treatment to survive,” said Dr. Margaret Juarez, president of the Network of Ethnic Physician Organizations.

Prop 8 sets severely low limits on what insurance companies are required to pay for dialysis care. These limits do not cover the cost of providing care, forcing many clinics to cut back services or even close, which would force patients to travel long distances to receive care or end up in overcrowded emergency rooms or even go without dialysis.

Patients on dialysis have failed kidneys and are very ill. Dialysis does the job of a patient’s failed kidneys to remove toxins from the body. Dialysis patients cannot survive without regular treatments, three days a week, four hours at a time. A single missed dialysis treatment increases the risk of death for dialysis patients by 30 percent.

Dr. Juarez continued, “Communities of color are at greater risk of requiring dialysis treatment in large part due to a higher prevalence of diabetes, high blood pressure and especially lack of access to quality health care.”

According to 2016 data from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, African Americans are 3.5 times more likely and Latinos are 1.5 times more likely to develop kidney failure and need dialysis treatment.

An independent study by the state’s former Legislative Analyst and the economic think tank, Berkeley Research Group, found that only 69 percent of clinic operating costs would be allowed under this initiative. As a result, 83 percent of dialysis clinics in California would operate at a loss.

California dialysis clinics are highly regulated by federal and state regulators that provide quality reports on every facility. According to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, California clinics outperform other states in clinical quality and patient satisfaction. This dangerous measure makes no sense when California dialysis care is highly regulated and saving lives.

The Network of Ethnic Physician Organizations (NEPO) is a coalition of more than 40 ethnic physician organizations in California. NEPO’s goals are to strengthen the collaboration between ethnic physicians and community-based organizations to improve the health of their communities and address the issues of health disparities and access to care.

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