We want to improve our wages, benefits and patient care overall. There’s a lot of issues in dialysis that need improvement and it’s been years and years and years, and it seems like the companies are not doing anything to improve any of it,” said Tellez.
‘It can be scary’: how corporate America is hitting back against unions
Nearly 500,000 Americans receive some sort of kidney dialysis treatment every year at over 7,500 dialysis clinics in the US, costing about $90,000 a patient every year. The US market for kidney dialysis is worth more than $24bn annually.
Workers throughout the dialysis industry – vital to many Americans with health issues – are often short-staffed, paid low wages with benefits that are expensive to access and are significantly lower than wages paid to comparable workers in other sectors of the healthcare industry.
Two corporations, DaVita and Fresenius, own about 70% of the dialysis clinics in the US and the growth of large corporate chains in the market resulted in increased patient loads of 11.7% per employee, according to a 2019 analysis of 1,200 dialysis clinic acquisitions over a 12-year period.
The dialysis industry has aggressively fought legislative efforts to rein in the immense profits of the industry in California, spending millions of dollars to oppose bills and ballot initiatives, including over $110m in opposition to a 2018 ballot initiative to limit profits to 15% above the amount spent on patient care.