We all know that hospitals are more than just buildings, but sometimes the bricks and mortar matter — and hospital leaders know better than anyone that our buildings are among the safest in the world.
Since the 1992 Northridge earthquake, you’ve invested billions to meet world-class seismic safety requirements. As a result, communities across the state can rest assured that every patient, employee, and visitor in a hospital will be safe when the next earthquake strikes.
As we work with California’s political leaders to modernize additional seismic safety requirements ahead of a 2030 deadline, we continue to reinforce the understanding of how safe hospitals are. That’s an essential point as we turn our focus toward how to ensure patients and communities will receive the critical care they’ll need following an earthquake.
Our message to lawmakers is clear: The current law doesn’t reflect the way we deliver care in the 21st century and places too much emphasis on structural upgrades as opposed to continuity in service delivery. Our advocacy efforts have focused on shifting the debate to preserving access to critical health care services following an earthquake, work that will help keep care affordable and protect the communities we serve.
Senate Bill 758, authored by Sen. Anthony Portantino, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, would give hospitals enough flexibility to tailor their post-disaster care to meet their communities’ needs, rather than applying a one-size-fits-all approach.
This month, we’re finalizing the bill’s language with the help of a robust work group of member hospitals. After that, we’ll dedicate ourselves to advancing the bill through the Legislature in May and June.
All of this work is supported by a new study from the RAND Corporation that says hospitals would have to spend more than $100 billion to meet the current 2030 requirement that hospitals “remain operational” after an earthquake. That’s an astronomical price tag, one that will inflate the cost of care for the millions of Californians who need it today, not to mention cause many hospitals to simply close their doors.
At a time when new technology allows us to travel directly into neighborhoods affected by disasters, or monitor people’s health remotely, or provide sophisticated outpatient services, hospitals have many ways of offering care beyond the narrow focus of regulations governing a specific building.
As you remain unwavering in your commitment to caring for those who walk through your doors, CHA remains steadfast in our commitment to shaping health care policy that supports you in that mission – both now and following a disaster.