Urge Assembly Members to Oppose Legislation That Jeopardizes Access to Care With Increased Costs, Potential Staffing Shortages

Action needed:

Write to Assemblymember Ash Kalra, chair of the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee, to oppose Assembly Bill (AB) 650 (Muratsuchi, D-Torrance). CHA has developed a template letter for members’ use. Email your letter to Dawn Vicari at [email protected] so it can be sent to Assemblymember Kalra.

Timing:

Email your letter to CHA by noon (PT) on April 14.

Background:

Staffing shortages may jeopardize access to care
AB 650 would mandate unfair and inequitable extra pay for only some health care workers while excluding millions of other essential and health care workers throughout the state. The bill mandates extra pay to workers at private hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices, surgery centers, and other providers but excludes tens of thousands of workers at public hospitals and clinics.

Patients face increased costs
Statewide, AB 650 would impose an estimated $6 billion in unfunded, increased costs that could be passed along to patients in the form of higher insurance rates, copays, and reduced access to vital health services. The additional mandated $5 per hour of work performed would not only be prospective but would be applied retroactively to Jan. 1, 2021, and through the termination of the COVID-19 State of Emergency, which has no fixed end date.

Please personalize the primary messages below with your hospital’s unique experiences when you write your letter:

  • Health care workers are, indeed, heroes, serving our communities valiantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why hospitals have gone to great lengths and spent hundreds of millions of dollars to provide:
    • Bonuses and pay increases
    • Childcare services and subsidies
    • Extended leave
    • Wellness and counseling support
    • Temporary housing
  • Hospitals have taken extraordinary steps to ensure workers are safe on the job. This includes comprehensive screenings of staff, visitors, and patients; continued efforts to increase personal protective equipment inventory; deep cleaning procedures; cohorting of patients and workers; and holding vaccine clinics for employees.
  • Complying with this mandate will force hospitals to consider difficult, but necessary decisions. Faced with billions in unfunded higher costs, many hospitals will need to alter capital improvement plans, eliminate services, or even shut down altogether — jeopardizing access to care at the worst possible time.