EMERGENCY CARE: Financial Aid Needed to Save Contra Costa Bill
Contra Costa County supervisors learned Tuesday that a measure aimed at stopping hospitals from closing emergency room facilities "can only pass in the Legislature if a financial package is added." Claude Van Marter of the county administrator's office told the Board that some votes favoring the bill, which aims to stop hospitals from closing their emergency rooms, were solely conditional on giving hospitals "some form of financial help," the Contra Costa Times reports. The controversial bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Dion Aroner (D-Berkeley), passed the Assembly last Wednesday. The bill will move to the state Senate where Aroner promised the legislation would be changed to address the hospitals' fears that they could be "forced to provide emergency medical services even when operating at a loss" (California Health Line, 1/27). Hans Hemann, spokesperson for Aroner, said that currently talks with Gov. Gray Davis (D) are under way in hopes that "some $50 million in the governor's budget could help resolve money issues in the bill." Hemann added that the proposal will "insert some rational discussion about an emergency-room closure's impact to the whole community, not just to the hospital" (2/1).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.