Urge Assemblymembers to Modify Seismic Mandate, Reject AG Authority Over Hospital Transactions

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Action needed:
WRITE and CALL your assemblymember this week, asking them to support Senate Bill (SB) 758 (Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge) related to the 2030 seismic mandate and oppose SB 977 (Monning, D-Carmel) giving the Attorney General unprecedented oversight over hospital transactions. The time is now for hospitals to ensure their voices are heard on these two critically important bills. CHA has developed template letters and background documents about both bills for your use (see below). Please send your letter to Dawn Vicari at dvicari@calhospital.org.
Timing: Call your assemblymember and send your letter by August 24. ​​Contact information for California assemblymembers is here.​

Background and Core Messaging for Both Bills

When COVID-19 hit, hospitals and health systems throughout the state responded quickly — converting physical space, suspending many procedures and services, purchasing personal protective equipment for employees and staff, hiring additional staff, and more. The fight against COVID-19 continues today. This unprecedented response has come at a high cost for all of California’s hospitals. A national, independent consulting firm with extensive health care finance expertise has found that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to lead to long-term changes to financial stability and care delivery for California hospitals. Lawmakers must recognize that:

  • California’s communities have benefitted from health care systems during this public health crisis. As they do in many types of emergencies, they have leveraged economies of scale to ensure key supply (PPE, medical equipment)  and staffing needs are met throughout the state — wherever they are most needed — and all communities have a hospital to turn to.
  • Hospitals’ scarce resources should now be focused on preparedness and key services, not long-term infrastructure requirements like the 2030 seismic safety mandate or limitations on access-increasing and cost-lowering partnerships among health care providers.
  • COVID-19 has taught invaluable lessons about the need for a strategic, holistic, and efficient approach to disaster readiness and the strength of the health care system – an approach that must be based on flexibility and interconnectedness, not one-off measures that fail to consider unintended consequences.

SB 758 – Support: Key Messages

Please personalize these messages with your hospital’s unique experiences.

CHA-sponsored SB 758 would require the California Department of Public Health to convene a Health Care Delivery System Preparedness Advisory Committee to make recommendations on how to provide care during and after the next disaster, and it would extend the requirement from 2030 to 2037.

  • Over the last few years the state has faced more than one disaster, including the current pandemic. It is important for health care professionals and disaster planning stakeholders, including labor, to understand the lessons learned during these disasters.
  • At this time when hospitals’ budgets have been crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s vital that the state convene the best and brightest experts to plan a disaster readiness and response strategy for the 21st century. As this work is conducted, an extension of the mandate is critical so financially struggling hospitals can keep their doors open to care for all Californians in all ways, whatever disaster may come. (Include an estimate of costs to your hospital, if available.)
  • Prior to the COVID-19 response, one-third of California hospitals had negative operating margins. According to a RAND study, that number could rise to 50% if the 2030 seismic requirements are not modified.

Template letter                               
Issue brief

SB 977 – Oppose: Key Messages

Please personalize these messages with your hospital’s unique experiences.

SB 977 would require hospital systems to get the California Attorney General’s approval before entering into an affiliation, agreement, partnership, joint venture, or other arrangement with another hospital/system, clinic, ambulatory surgery center, treatment center, laboratory, or physician office. The bill includes virtually no “guardrails,” clear processes, or opportunities for appeal — giving the attorney general arbitrary and total discretion over these transactions.

  • Passing this legislation during the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency and growing health care financial crisis will further diminish the flexibility and resources health care providers desperately need simply to keep their doors open and provide vital care to patients. Now, more than ever, patients need predictability and reliability when it comes to their health care. SB 977 will immediately stifle this lifesaving work.
  • SB 977 would create a highly political and bureaucratic system where power over beneficial health care partnerships is concentrated into a single office. This would undoubtedly disrupt arrangements that improve access to care and clinical outcomes. The bill creates a presumption that these transactions are anticompetitive and places the burden of proof on hospitals without due process.
  • If relevant, provide an example of an existing arrangement(s) your system has, the benefit it provides to patients and your community, and how this process will disrupt it.

Template letter                               
Talking points