Lawmakers Introduce Bond Proposals To Include Funds for Hospitals
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) $222-billion bond proposal for state infrastructure projects does not include money to help hospitals comply with state seismic safety requirements, but some lawmakers are introducing their own bond measures, which they hope to integrate into the governor's plan, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles) is supporting a proposal that includes an unspecified amount of money to help retrofit not-for-profit hospitals, especially those in low-income and rural areas (Salladay, Los Angeles Times, 1/15).
In addition, Assembly member Dario Frommer (D-Glendale) has proposed a $5 billion bond issue for retrofitting the state's public and not-for-profit acute care hospitals (Lawrence, AP/San Jose Mercury News, 1/15).
However, the Times reports that "there are so many other projects on the table" that "hospitals could get far less than the $30 billion they estimate they'll need" to meet the standards (Los Angeles Times, 1/15).
Hearings for competing bond measures are tentatively scheduled to begin next week (AP/San Jose Mercury News, 1/15).
California Hospital Association spokesperson Jan Emerson said that lawmakers "wouldn't be able to give hospitals enough [money] to make a difference" and that a hospital bond would create "a perception that they had resolved the problem this year but really hadn't."
Instead, Emerson said, the state should consider eliminating the 2008 deadline for certain changes and allow hospitals to work together toward the 2030 deadline for tougher standards (Los Angeles Times, 1/15).