Urge Legislators to Oppose Bills That Threaten Access to Care and Increase Costs

Action needed:

Write and call your assembly member to oppose Assembly Bill (AB) 650 (Muratsuchi, D-Torrance). Write and call your state senator, asking them to oppose Senate Bill (SB) 213 (Cortese, D-San Jose). CHA has developed a template letter and key messages about both bills for members’ use. Find contact information for both your assembly member and senator on the state Legislature’s site.

Timing:

Call your senator and assembly member, and send your letters to both, by noon (PT) on May 21. Please send a copy of your letter to Dawn Vicari at [email protected].

Background and Key Messages:

AB 650

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. 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.

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 and call your assembly member: 

  • Health care workers are, indeed, heroes, serving our communities valiantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why hospitals have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to provide bonuses and pay increases, childcare, extended leave, temporary housing, and counseling support.
  • Hospitals have taken extraordinary steps to ensure workers are safe through comprehensive screenings of staff, visitors, and patients; continuous increases in 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. 

Template Letter     Key Messages

SB 213

Similar to many unsuccessful efforts over the past decade, SB 213 would create a rebuttable presumption in the workers’ compensation system that an infectious disease, musculoskeletal injury, or respiratory disease arose out of work for any hospital direct patient care worker. Aside from recent COVID-19-specific and time-limited workers’ compensation presumptions that cover all industries, presumptions have been limited to the public sector.

Because it is virtually impossible to overcome a workers’ compensation presumption, hospitals would be required to accept more claims with little to no evidence that they are work-related. Such claims can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars in temporary and permanent disability payments and medical costs for a single case.

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

  • Hospitals highly value their employees and prioritize their well-being. Without healthy employees, hospitals could not fulfill their mission of care.
  • According to the California Workers’ Compensation Institute, health care employers have one of the lowest denial rates of any industry — including public safety. In 2019, denial rates for health care ranged from 7.7% to 9.3%, while public safety/government ranged from 13.8% to 18.3%, and the average denial rate for all industries ranged from 10.4% to 12.6%.
  • These increases in workers’ compensation costs will directly and immediately impact hospitals’ financial ability to protect access to high-quality care, especially considering that 39% of hospitals already operate in the red.

Template letter     Key messages