Letters to the Editor

Dr. Thanh Nguyen: Bill requiring more staffing for dialysis will hurt patients in Merced

As a practicing nephrologist for nine years who treats dialysis patients in Merced, Los Banos, Atwater and Turlock, I’m strongly opposed to Senate Bill 349. It will restrict patient’s access to life-saving dialysis treatment.

The bill mandates rigid staffing ratios for dialysis clinics in California. Under the bill, many clinics will have to cut back on the number of patients they see to meet these ratios. Clinics in Merced County, where there are high numbers of Medi-Cal patients, will have to cut the number of patients they can treat to meet the ratio mandated in SB 349.

That’s dangerous for patients. Missing even one dialysis treatment leads to an increase in mortality of 30 percent. Patients will be forced to go to the hospital or the ER to receive care.

If I thought staffing ratios would lead to better care, I’d support this bill. But there is no clinical evidence that staffing ratios lead to better care. SB 349 is about politics, not patient care. It’s opposed by doctors, nurses, patients, veterans and many others. I urge local Assemblymember Adam Gray to reject this dangerous bill.

Dr. Thanh Nguyen, Merced