Through all of it – COVID-19, work/home adjustments, a brief sense of hope in June that this would be short-lived – the 2020 legislative session has slogged on. Now, there are just a couple of weeks left, and two of the most important issues for California’s hospitals remain in play:
- Disaster Planning and Seismic: COVID-19 has brought into stark clarity that the state needs to rethink and reinvent its disaster response plans quickly – to take into account infectious diseases like COVID-19 and other potential threats. This bill would create an advisory committee to provide recommendations on how to prepare for and execute through the next disaster, and it would extend the seismic building requirement from 2030 to 2037 while that work takes place. It is now in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, where our author, Sen. Portantino, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, will navigate its next steps ahead of a floor vote.
- Attorney General Affiliation Approval: COVID-19 has also shown California the invaluable ability of diverse health care delivery models to save lives, but this bill would limit the ability of health care providers to enter important business relationships. Health systems, for example, have been able to seamlessly share equipment and staff – as well as transfer patients – at a time when resources have been scarce. This bill would deter and prevent life-saving affiliations like these and others. It is now headed to the Assembly floor where we are waging a hard fight to stop it cold.
We are fighting opposition from Labor on both these bills. We need all of your voices!
An alert sent on Monday asks hospital leaders to reach out to their representatives by Aug. 24. The time is now to make sure we are speaking with one voice and are heard by those who will make critical votes in the next two weeks.
There are three key messages we’d like you to infuse into your conversations:
- Amid the ongoing COVID-19 response, and to create a foundation for effective response in the future, 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 seismic mandate is critical so we stay focused on the right disaster readiness objectives and not push hospitals over a financial cliff complying with outdated seismic regulations.
- The variety of providers in California – including integrated health systems – has saved countless lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. While all health care models can be improved, health care affiliations and systems have proven, and continue to prove, their value every day. A “no” vote on the Attorney General bill prevents the wholesale elimination of a health care delivery model without which the lives of more Californians would be in jeopardy.
- COVID-19 has decimated hospitals’ finances – not only in 2020, but for the foreseeable future. Right now is not the time to upend a fragile California health care delivery system. The right votes on both of these bills can provide invaluable relief to hospitals without harming state finances in any way.
To make sure every legislator hears our voice and understands the impact on the people and communities we serve, CHA is adding more lobbying resource and power to this fight.
COVID-19 has created significant challenges for advocacy work, especially with fewer opportunities (and almost no in-person opportunities) to speak with legislators. That makes your voices even more important during this final stretch.
Thank you for standing together on these issues of critical importance.