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Sending a Powerful Message on Hospital Financial Instability

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The final tally is impressive: 350-plus names of California hospitals and health systems whose leaders signed on to letters seeking state and federal help to protect access to critical health care services. 

The sheer volume of the names on the letters, paired with the understanding of the special ways each of your organizations supports the communities you serve, sends a potent message that help is urgently needed and access to care for all Californians is in jeopardy.  

My deepest thanks to all who lent your attention, your name, and your voice, to this critical issue. 

The state and federal letters, one sent to Gov. Newsom and key legislative leaders and one to every member of California’s congressional delegation, lay out the compelling reasons for, respectively, an immediate financial lifeline to support hospital care for Medi-Cal patients and for the protection and enhancement of Medicare funding.  

Both letters support hospitals’ highest priority this year in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.: stabilizing a health care system in California that has been wracked by $12 billion in losses (even after federal relief) during the pandemic, skyrocketing inflation, and a massive increase in health care wages. To cope, hospitals have depleted their cash to cover the surging cost of providing care. But without rapid support, many face difficult choices about shuttering services just to remain open or in several cases, outright bankruptcy. 

Even with a quick injection of resources to stabilize those hospitals on the brink of collapse, systemic reform will be needed to address the chronic underfunding of the Medi-Cal and Medicare programs, which pay far less than the actual cost of delivering care. 

That’s why CHA’s advocacy efforts on this issue will press for change now, and continue well beyond this year — so that the communities hospitals serve do not have to reach, as U.S. Rep. Jim Costa recently noted, a crisis level when it comes to access to critical health care services.  

In this ongoing work, your voices will remain essential to ensuring that policymakers act before time runs out. These letters are an important step to demonstrate the breadth of the crisis, and we are grateful for your continued outreach to those policymakers who hold the power to protect health care for all Californians