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Asm. Wood Will Continue Work on AB 869 Hospital Seismic Safety Compliance

for Small Rural and District Hospitals

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO–Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) introduced AB 869 earlier this year which would protect patient access to small rural and district hospitals in danger of closing due to seismic safety compliance requirements.

“To ensure that these particular hospitals receive the much needed assistance they need to maintain their operations, we will need to continue to work on AB 869 through next year and it will remain in Senate Health Committee until January,” said Wood. “These hospitals are literally lifelines to Californians in our more rural communities and most do not have the financial resources nor the ability to acquire funding from other sources to meet seismic requirements.”

Earthquakes are endemic to California and existing law establishes timelines for hospital compliance with seismic safety standards requiring retrofitting or rebuilding hospitals to withstand earthquakes and remain operable or be removed from acute care service by January 1, 2030.

“An important first step was achieved this year when we were able to secure $50 million in this year’s budget to begin the process of assessing the seismic upgrades each of these hospitals will need in order to meet the standards,” said Wood. “It’s a recognition that keeping these hospitals open is absolutely critical for rural communities and the next step is assuring that the hospitals needing assistance the most will be able to obtain the funding and accommodations they need to continue to serve their communities.”

AB 869 would require HCAI to provide grant funding, when appropriated by the Legislature, to financially distressed small rural and district hospitals in order to meet these seismic requirements and would provide the ability to delay the requirement. When funds are not available for small rural hospitals and estimated seismic costs exceed the larger of $1 million or 2 percent of hospital revenue, the hospital will not be required to meet the 2030 requirements until funds are available. In addition, financially distressed district hospitals more than 30 minutes or 30 miles from the nearest hospital would also not be required to comply with 2030 requirements until funds are available.    

“My commitment remains strong to reach a solution for these hospitals and the patients they serve and I look forward to continuing important conversations with all stakeholders to reach that goal next year,” said Wood.

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