Legislators address hospital closure crisis
Senator Anna M. Caballero (D-Merced), Speaker-Designate Robert Rivas (D-Salinas) and Assemblywoman Esmeralda Soria (D-Merced) recently announced the passage of SB/AB 112 approved in both the Senate and Assembly.
The Distressed Hospital Loan Program, funded with $150 million, will provide loans to not-for-profit and public hospitals in significant financial distress. The Department of Health Care Access and Information would oversee the Distressed Hospital Loan Program, which would require financially distressed hospitals to provide more transparency about their financial condition, create more accountability to ensure long-term sustainability of its operations, and require state verification of financial plans prior to any loan approval.
“Ensuring that our hospitals remain open and able to serve patients has been priority number one for me this year,” Senator Anna Caballero said. “The hospital closure in Madera and other looming closures would be catastrophic in both rural and urban communities. To ensure proper oversight of public funds, I will continue to seek more transparency and frankly more accountability on hospital operations to ensure California preserves health care access for all. I am thankful for the swift, collaborative action of my colleagues, and the support and work of Governor Newsom and his team to address this crisis before it is too late.”
The COVID-19 pandemic drained $12 billion from hospitals, and skyrocketing prices for pharmaceutical drugs, staff, and medical supplies have put many hospitals on the brink of collapse. In December 2022, a rural community hospital in Madera closed its doors, leaving hundreds of thousands of community members without emergency care and over 900 employees lost their jobs. Without immediate action, experts warn that dozens of hospitals across the state are at risk of closing or declaring bankruptcy. This would have serious consequences for patient care across the state.