Calif. Bills Aim To Set Standard Charity Care Requirements
California lawmakers are considering two bills (SB 346, AB 1046) that aim to create uniform charity care requirements for hospitals, the Sacramento Business Journal reports (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 3/3).
Current California law requires not-for-profit hospitals to submit community needs assessments every three years to prove that the public is benefiting from the hospitals' tax-exempt status (California Healthline, 6/25/14).
However, there is no standard definition for community benefits, according to the Business Journal.
Details of AB 1046
AB 1046, by Assembly member Matt Dababneh (D-Encino), aims to streamline reporting and make the process more transparent by aligning state and federal community benefit laws.
The bill is sponsored by the California Hospital Association, which has opposed similar measures in the past, arguing that additional charity care rules are unnecessary and would increase costs for hospitals and the state (Sacramento Business Journal, 3/3).
The bill also would require:
- Hospitals to adopt a community benefits plan every three years;
- Hospitals to annually report actions taken under such plans to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development; and
- OSHPD to post updates to hospitals' community benefits plans online.
Further, the bill would remove an exemption from such provisions for small and rural hospitals (AB 1046, 2/26).
CHA spokesperson Jan Emerson-Shea said the bill will aim to align community benefits provisions under the Affordable Care Act and California law so that "there's not one set for the feds and another for the state," which would "help hospitals operate more efficiently"
Details of SB 346
SB 346, by state Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), also aims to establish a standard definition of charity care and community benefits.
In addition, the bill would require hospitals to allocate 90% of their community benefit funding to charity care and projects to help particularly vulnerable populations (Sacramento Business Journal, 3/3).
The bill also would require not-for-profit hospitals and clinics to develop a community benefits plan by April 1, 2018, and then submit an updated plan to OSHPD every two years (SB 346, 2/24).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.