Governor Brown Signs Historic Agreement to Preserve Access to Vital Hospital Care

Oct 08, 2013, 18:20 ET from California Hospital Association

New law avoids cuts to hospital-based skilled-nursing units, brings billions in new federal dollars

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following statement is being issued by C. Duane Dauner, President/CEO, California Hospital Association:

Gov. Jerry Brown's signature today on SB 239 (Hernandez, D-West Covina/Steinberg, D-Sacramento) means a more secure future for skilled-nursing patients across California, and greater access to vital health care services as the state's hospitals prepare for implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). It is one of 2013's most significant legislative achievements and will benefit current and future generations of Californians.

The enactment of SB 239 is a result of strong bipartisan leadership in the Legislature, and the commitment of the Administration to ensure that high-quality hospital services are available throughout the state.  The measure eliminates Medi-Cal cuts for non-rural hospital-based skilled-nursing facilities, and lifts a rate freeze that was underfunding health care providers struggling to treat some of the most medically complex patients. (The California Department of Health Care Services exempted rural facilities from the payment cuts and rate freeze in August.)

SB 239 also delivers more than $10 billion in new federal Medicaid funds to California hospitals over the next three years and will provide $2.4 billion in additional revenue to the State General Fund.  The new federal money will be paid to hospitals in the form of supplemental Medi-Cal payments.  The law also aligns financial incentives to ensure that hospitals and the State are working together to improve access to care for Medi-Cal patients.

This measure is a great example of a common-sense solution emerging from the Capitol to ensure that hospitals are better prepared to meet the increased service demands expected under the ACA, and it also will preserve approximately 36,000 health care jobs and an estimated $2 billion in yearly contributions to California's economy.

The California Hospital Association (CHA) thanks the Governor, the Legislature and a statewide bipartisan coalition of labor, business and non-profit organizations for working in tandem to achieve such a critically-important solution that will benefit taxpayers, patients, hospitals and dedicated health care professionals. 

SOURCE California Hospital Association