Lawmakers Seek Federal Funds to Help Hospitals Meet Seismic Retrofitting Standards
Federal lawmakers from California are introducing legislation that would establish a $1 billion "pool of grant money" to help fund California hospitals' efforts to meet state seismic retrofitting standards, the Orange County Register reports. California hospitals face a 2008 deadline to meet state-mandated earthquake safety standards and must meet "even stricter building requirements" by 2030. Meeting the standards will cost hospitals an estimated $24 billion. Legislation sponsored by Reps. Jerry Lewis (R) and Mike Thompson (D) would earmark $1 billion -- "just a sliver of the total that would be needed" -- for seismic retrofitting construction and renovation. The funds would help "safeguard" hospitals and other public buildings, including local government facilities and universities, against future earthquakes and would offer tax incentives for business to "protect their establishments against earthquakes." Lewis and Thompson yesterday "pitched" the bill to a group of California health care officials, saying that nearly half of the state's 52-member congressional delegation is supporting the measure. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) has introduced similar legislation (S 424) in the Senate. If Congress approves the legislation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will determine how to allocate the funds and administer the program (Nowicki, Orange County Register, 5/2).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.