California Hospital Association Supports Bill To Delay Compliance With Seismic Safety Rules
The San Diego Union-Tribune on Thursday examined the California Hospital Association's support for a bill (SB 167) that would delay the deadline for compliance with state seismic safety rules for some hospitals (Skidmore, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/16).
The bill, which the Senate approved last month and is now being considered by the Assembly, would exempt most hospitals from the 2008 deadline for complying with state seismic safety standards if the hospitals made changes by 2020 to ensure that facilities could remain open after an earthquake. Under the bill, buildings considered to be at extra risk for earthquake damage would still be required to meet the 2008 standards (California Healthline, 6/1).
Under current state seismic safety requirements, hospitals must guarantee by 2008 -- or by 2013 if they expect to continue to use their buildings for an additional 30 years -- that their buildings will not collapse in a major earthquake. By 2030, hospitals must guarantee that their buildings will not collapse in a major earthquake and will continue to function immediately afterward (California Healthline, 7/15/2004).
About 40% of hospital facilities in the state must be upgraded to meet the requirements, and the work is estimated to cost hospitals at least $41 billion. Hospitals do not receive state funding to meet the requirements.
CHA spokesperson Jan Emerson said it would be more efficient for some hospitals that require significant changes to implement them in one step rather than meet the first deadline by making changes that will become obsolete by 2030.
The California Nurses Association and some state leaders oppose the change in compliance deadlines under the bill (Skidmore, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/16).