A state physician’s group has come out against a proposed ballot measure that would limit the cost of kidney dialysis, saying it would put patients’ lives at risk.

The California Medical Association said that by setting reimbursement rates too low to cover costs, the measure would force many community clinics to cut-back care or close. Of the roughly 575 clinics across the state, 30 percent are in Los Angeles County.

“For patients whose kidneys have failed, receiving dialysis is necessary to live,” said Dr. Theodore M. Mazer, president of the CMA, which represents more than 43,000 doctors. “By limiting access to dialysis care, this dangerous proposition puts patients’ lives at risk.”

The California Limits on Dialysis Clinics’ Revenue and Required Refund Initiative inched closer to the November ballot this month when supporters turned in more than 600,000 signatures. It will need 365,800 validated signatures to qualify.

The measure, backed by SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, claims dialysis companies are overcharging patients and insurance companies, especially in low-income communities.

If it can qualify for the ballot and be approved by voters, it would require dialysis clinics to issue refunds to patients or insurers for revenue above 115 percent of the average cost of dialysis treatment across the state, plus any health care improvement costs.

Health business reporter Dana Bartholomew can be reached at dbartholomew@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @_DanaBart.

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