CHA Responds to Comments on Charity Care Legislation by Assemblymember Rob Bonta

Mar 13, 2013, 18:00 ET from California Hospital Association

AB 975 Would Replace Local Control with One-Size-Fits-All Sacramento Regulations

SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following statement is issued by C. Duane Dauner, President/CEO, California Hospital Association:

If AB 975 is intended to improve access to quality health care in California's communities, it actually does just the opposite.  California's not-for-profit community hospitals provide many community benefits that go far beyond the strict and unrealistic definition of charity care that is proposed in AB 975.

Replacing local decision-making with a one-size-fits-all arbitrary mandate from Sacramento would put vital services such as emergency room and trauma services, neonatal care and cancer research on the chopping block.

Creating a new and narrow definition of charity care in Sacramento will deprive California citizens, and especially underserved populations, of critically important health care programs because no hospital in the state could meet the requirements of AB 975.

The number of uninsured residents in California is expected to drop by more than 4 million people starting next year when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is implemented.  As many more people gain health coverage, it would be impossible for any hospital to comply with AB 975.

AB 975 is a bad solution at the wrong time.  While California is implementing the federal health reform law and increasing the number of insured Californians, AB 975 is attempting to penalize not-for-profit hospitals.

In the future, the number of patients who would qualify for charity care under the provisions of AB 975 will decrease significantly.  The underlying policy assumption for AB 975 is factually wrong.  

SOURCE California Hospital Association