Health Officials Lobby For "Dialysis Bill Of Rights"

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

Some dialysis patients in Pike County want to choose where they get treatment, but worry insurance companies are taking that choice away.

Now health officials are lobbying state legislators to pass the dialysis bill of rights to help.

Laura Damron takes dialysis treatment three hours per day, three days per week. She cannot drive during treatment, so her sister brings her.

“It would be real inconvenient for us to go somewhere else,” Magdalene Coleman said.

Dialysis Health Officials say private insurance companies are starting to limit dialysis patients' treatment choices and instead pick where they want the patient to go based on networks and cost, but patients say that choice could be several hours drive away.

“This is so stressful to begin with, that if you add that to it, I just don't think it would be good,” Coleman said.

“I think the patient ought to have a right to choose where they're going,” William Totten said.

Patient William Totten says driving farther would mean higher gas bills. He also worries it could hurt overall care for all patients.

“If we're mandated to go to a particular spot, I feel like there would not be a competitive edge that would cause all of the centers to stay up on current practices and cleanliness,” Totten said.

Patients and dialysis health officials are asking lawmakers to pass the Kentucky Dialysis Bill of Rights, which would mandate patients choose their treatment center.

“It could probably save hundreds and hundreds of patients later on. Maybe the few it's affecting now, if we change it now, it's going to save down the line in years to come,” Delfina Kilkenny, Eastern KY Dialysis Adminstrator said.

State Legislators are considering the bill.

Online legislative records show the bill is currently in the senate health and welfare committee.

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