S.B. (Senate Bill) 349 is a California proposed legislation that has been developed to create minimum staffing requirements for Dialysis Clinics as well as establish a minimum transition time between patients so that Patient Care Technicians do not have to rush from one patient finishing treatment, to another preparing to begin - avoiding mistakes and lapses in infection control strategies such as wiping down chairs and equipment. If successful, the legislation could serve as a prototype for similar laws to be enacted across the country. However, the initiative would have rather far-reaching impacts and has surprising opposition among some Dialysis patients.
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To be clear, the bill does offer significant changes to how Dialysis Centers currently operate including mandating a 45-minute transition time and personal fines between $200.00 and $4,000.00 to staff who commit significant errors or mishaps. Opponents to S.B. 349, which is intended to improve Dialysis Treatment care, surprisingly include some patient groups as well as larger Dialysis and Medical Professional Organizations.
Opponents of the bill note that the rigidity (inability to be changed) of one nurse to eight patients and one Patient Care Technician to every three Dialysis patients will limit local clinic flexibility to tailor treatments for each patient. What's more, a concern that the legislation may directly impact available Dialysis Treatment slots, is concerning because it may cause some patients to be displaced should the bill be enacted, according to the California Dialysis Council. Some have suggested that S.B. 349 may lead to centers closing, and limit patient access to certain modalities like Nocturnal Dialysis.
While supporters of the legislation suggest otherwise - touting improved care and limited infection rates - what do you think? Do you believe that minimum staffing requirements would improve Dialysis patient outcome or hinder overall treatment?
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