Ventura County Hospitals Expected to Receive $90K in Tobacco Settlement Funds for Seismic Upgrade, Uninsured
The Ventura County Board of Supervisors today will likely approve a plan to provide seven hospitals in the county with up to $90,000 each in funds from the county's share of the 1998 national tobacco settlement to help cover the cost of state-mandated seismic upgrades, the Los Angeles Times reports. The hospitals would use the funds to secure equipment and structures that could collapse in the event of an earthquake. Although the first state deadline for "bolting down" equipment passed last December, the hospitals face a 2008 deadline to complete additional, "more costly" structural improvements. Hospitals that do not spend the entire $90,000 for seismic upgrades could use the rest of the funds to help cover the cost of treatment for uninsured patients. Hospital administrators said that they would "jump at the chance" to cover some of the cost of care for uninsured patients, the Times reports. Mike Murray, administrator at St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo, said, "We can't turn people away. It's our responsibility to serve them and it's part of our mission. So any additional assistance we can get from the county, it's needed and appropriate." The county receives $10 million per year from the national tobacco settlement (Saillant, Los Angeles Times, 3/5).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.