Brown Signs Bills That Could Extend Hospitals’ Seismic Safety Deadlines
Gov. Jerry Brown (D) recently signed two bills that could provide up to seven years of extensions for hospital seismic safety deadlines, California Watch reports (Jewett, California Watch, 4/25).
State law requires the riskiest hospital buildings to meet earthquake safety standards by 2013 or 2015. If a hospital fails to meet its deadline, the state can revoke its operating license (California Healthline, 4/6).
Last week, the governor's office announced that Brown had signed:
- SB 90, by Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento); and
- AB 113, by Assembly member Bill Monning (D-Carmel).
Possible Seismic Safety Deadline Extensions
The seismic safety provisions of the two bills would allow hospitals to apply to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development for incremental extensions of deadlines to rebuild or retrofit buildings in danger of collapse during an earthquake. Hospitals seeking an extension also would need to undergo a collapse risk assessment.
OSHPD would decide whether to grant an extension based on:
- The hospital's financial situation;
- The hospital's structural stability; and
- The surrounding community's need for the hospital's services.
David Byrnes, spokesperson for OSHPD, said hospitals that do not apply for extensions would continue to face their current deadlines.
Extensions Dependent on Hospital Fee
The two bills also include provisions to extend a fee on hospitals to help draw down additional federal matching funds. The federal funds will be redistributed to hospitals based on the proportion of Medi-Cal services they provide. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
Ann McLeod -- senior vice president of health policy for the California Hospital Association -- said the legislation will extend the hospital fee for six months. She added that the seismic safety provisions of the two bills only will become operative if lawmakers pass subsequent legislation to extend the hospital fee for several years (California Watch, 4/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.