California Bill Would Let Some Hospitals Delay Seismic Upgrades
A bill (SB 306) before Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) would give hospitals facing financial hardships until 2020 to comply with state seismic safety rules, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
Under current state laws, hospitals have until 2008 -- or 2013 if they have been granted an extension -- to meet the rules' requirements.
Sen. Denise Ducheny (D-San Diego) carried the bill, arguing that it is needed to prevent small community hospitals from closing because they cannot afford to make the upgrades needed to comply with the rules.
The California Hospital Association, which supports the measure, estimates that 11 hospitals would qualify for the extension under the bill.
However, in making its case against the measure, the California Nurses Association maintains that far more of the hospitals could qualify for the extension because of provisions in the bill's financial requirements.
The governor has not taken a position on the bill (Sheppard, Los Angeles Daily News, 9/26).