In a letter delivered today to Governor Newsom, Senate Minority Leader Brian W. Jones (R- San Diego) called for the Governor’s immediate signature of Assembly Bill 112. AB 112 would establish the Distressed Hospital Loan Program and the Distressed Hospital Loan Program Fund, which are designed to provide interest-free cash flow loans for nonprofit and public hospitals.
“Californians who are losing and at risk of losing access to their hospitals cannot afford any more inaction from the Newsom Administration,” said Leader Jones. “The clock is ticking for distressed hospitals that are holding on by a financial shoestring. Additionally, these funds may allow Madera Community Hospital to reopen. The Governor missed an opportunity to step in when the Attorney General failed on Madera, but here’s a second chance to do the right thing.”
One in five hospitals in California is at risk of closure, including hospitals in Visalia, Placerville, Porterville, Hollister, Bakersfield, Montebello, Humboldt County, all of Imperial County, and pockets of Los Angeles. Without immediate action from the state, millions of Californians are at risk of losing access to hospitals and emergency care.
In a recent opinion piece originally published in the Fresno Bee, Leader Jones slammed Democrat politicians’, specifically Attorney General Bonta’s, incompetence on the matter. He concluded his column with a statement that holds true on AB 112: “If we don’t prioritize health-care access, we can’t provide health care. Let’s fix our broken system, take the AG’s politics out of health care, and protect patients throughout California.”
A survey in the news today, courtesy of CalMatters reporting, outlines the severity of the Madera Hospital Closure and the communities most affected. As the story explains, “A new community survey shows that Punjabi Sikh residents and farmworkers from indigenous backgrounds are particularly affected by the closure of the Madera Community Hospital.”
The survey further shows that the closure is leaving residents of the area with very real consequences, including:
- 60% of residents had to travel to Fresno to receive their healthcare.
- About 15% of residents did not know where to go to receive care.
- 52% of farmworkers say they don’t have a reliable way to get to the next hospital.
While AB 112 is a good step in the right direction, California Senate Republicans have introduced Senate Bill 774, the “Save Our Hospitals” bill. SB 774 would help ensure that another hospital is not forced to close because of the California Attorney General’s political interests. Specifically, the bill prohibits the California Attorney General from putting conditions on hospital mergers, partnerships, or agreements that would:
- Limit or restrict the normal operations of the hospital, such as entering into contracts or setting rates.
- Have an adverse effect on the financial condition of the continued operation of the hospital; and
- Impose political conditions targeted at the hospital which were not required in similar mergers in the past.