California Hospital Group To Pursue Extension of Seismic Safety Deadline
The California Hospital Association plans to push for new legislation that would extend hospitals' deadline to comply with state seismic safety standards, according to a CHA official, Payers & Providers reports.
By 2013, California hospitals are required to replace or update facilities that could collapse in an earthquake. The state initially set the compliance date for 2008, but pushed the deadline back with subsequent legislation.
Last month, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) vetoed SB 289, by Sen. Denise Ducheny (D-San Diego), which would have granted a three-year extension to certain hospitals that were working to meet the 2013 deadline.
In his veto message, Schwarzenegger said additional deadline extensions reward hospitals that have delayed compliance with the seismic standards. He added that any new extensions should include financial penalties and the possibility of closure for noncompliant facilities.
Roger Richter, senior vice president for professional services at CHA, said he was surprised the governor did not sign SB 289 because CHA had worked with the administration and the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development on the legislation.
Richter added that Schwarzenegger might have vetoed the measure to delay deadline extensions until after OSHPD publishes hospital compliance data in 2011.
CertainÂ Extensions Granted
Also last month, Schwarzenegger signed SB 608, by Sen. Elaine Alquist (D-Santa Clara), which provides up to a three-year extension to certain hospitals seeking to meet the 2013 deadline. The extension applies only to hospitals that have faced approval delays caused by local governments or planning authorities. In addition, hospitals must renew the extension annually.
According to Richter, SB 608 applies to a small number of hospitals. He said CHA did not support the measure.
Looking Down the Road
RichterÂ saidÂ CHA plans to pursue a new deadline-extension bill after Schwarzenegger leaves office in January 2011 (Payers & Providers, 10/21).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.