Key Messages: Hospitals are Safe for Earthquakes

Hospitals are Safe for Earthquakes, but Access to Health Care is at Risk

Without time and legislative reform, access to vital health services is at risk throughout California.

  • Hospitals are an important part of their communities, and California must do all it can to ensure that
    patients have uninterrupted access to care.
  • Under current law, hospital buildings that are unable to meet the state’s seismic standards by Jan. 1,
    2030, will be forced to close and patient care will cease in those buildings.

Patients and health care workers are safe — hospitals will stand after an earthquake.

  • Right now, hospitals have already met a 2020 state standard for building integrity and are among the
    safest buildings in California. They have spent billions of dollars to retrofit and rebuild facilities for
    patient care and to protect patients and workers.
  • More than 98% of hospital buildings in California have met the state’s requirements to remain standing and keep patients and workers safe after an earthquake.

Hospitals need legislative change and the time to make sure they can continue to meet communities’ needs following an earthquake.

  • California should not force hospitals to prioritize construction over patient care, which hurts health
    access everywhere. California’s most vulnerable populations will be the hardest hit if hospitals are forced to close.
  • The deadline for seismic upgrades should be extended to provide the time needed to retrofit or rebuild buildings. California should take the lead and guarantee that every health care dollar is wisely invested in patient care.
  • As the state works to hold health care costs in check, it must consider the impact that $160 billion in
    hospital spending on infrastructure will have on health care costs. Directing the Office of Health Care
    Affordability to analyze the cost of this mandate and its impact on affordability will be critical to ensuring access to health care for all California communities.