Next week, as the state Legislature begins the home stretch of its current session, our major focus on behalf of your hospitals will continue to be relief from the 2030 seismic mandate.
While we had hoped to reform and redefine the seismic standard this year to focus on the emergency medical services most needed after a disaster, dynamics within the Legislature have necessitated a shift in our direction to focus on securing meaningful additional time for hospitals to meet the current 2030 requirements.
Specifically, we’re asking the Legislature and Gov. Newsom to approve up to a seven-year extension for hospitals to meet the 2030 seismic mandate deadlines — both structural and nonstructural. This extension will give hospitals time to begin recovering from the financial devastation of the pandemic without sacrificing patient care, especially in our most challenged communities.
We have already begun these conversations in earnest with legislative leaders and will press with full force throughout the month of August (the deadline for legislators to send bills to the governor for signature is Aug. 31). With a multi-faceted plan that includes a digital advertising campaign, traditional and social media — in addition to your own voices — our message to lawmakers will be clear:
- California’s hospitals are among the safest structures in their communities, with billions already invested in seismic compliance.
- As a result, patients and workers are already protected in every hospital building.
- Hospitals are on the financial brink after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they need time to recover.
- The 2030 seismic standard requires all hospital campus buildings to be “fully operational” after a seismic event — a standard and cost so high as to force care cutbacks to achieve.
- Californians deserve access to health care when and where they need it, and policymakers should help to preserve access to care by giving hospitals time so that they can continue to be there for their communities.
We know that complying with the state’s seismic building standards could cost hospitals more than $100 billion statewide — and that’s after the pandemic’s financial havoc, which will only continue for the foreseeable future. Legislators need to understand that hospital losses, massive inflation in construction costs, and rising interest rates are all impacts of the pandemic that will continue to take a toll on California’s hospitals. For Californians to continue accessing care as they now do from your hospitals — in every type of emergency or disaster — it is vital that hospitals get some reprieve from the 2030 seismic deadline. And to make sure that message is heard, we’ll be calling on you to contact your legislators during the final weeks of the legislative session, just as we’ll be updating you throughout the final stages of this vital advocacy campaign.