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Measure Comes in Response to Attorney General Bonta Shutting Down the Only Hospital in Madera County, Endangering Rural Residents Across the State
Today, Senate Minority Leader Brian W. Jones (R-San Diego) and Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) introduced Senate Bill 774, the “Save Our Hospitals” bill, to help prevent nonprofit community hospitals from closing their doors. The bill is jointly authored by Jones and Grove, and all California Senate Republican Caucus members are proud coauthors of the measure. Click here to read the measure.
“Attorney General Bonta single-handedly took away access to an emergency room and specialty medical care from 150,000 Californians, and put 700 hospital employees out of work. Our measure will help prevent this from ever happening again,” said Leader Jones.
Senator Grove said, “This legislation is about prioritizing access to healthcare for my constituents in the Central Valley and ensuring the most vulnerable people have access to life-saving treatment.”
Specifically, SB 774 aims to prohibit the California Attorney General from imposing unreasonable, unwarranted, or unworkable economic conditions onto a nonprofit hospital that is the subject of a sale, merger, partnership, or agreement with another business entity.
In January, after years of being underfunded by Medi-Cal reimbursement rates and the pandemic pushing the hospital into complete financial ruin, Madera Community Hospital (MCH) shut its doors. MCH served a large rural, Latino-majority community in the San Joaquin Valley. Trinity Health, a potential buyer, stepped in to purchase MCH and save the hospital from closing. However, California state law requires nonprofit hospitals to get approval from the California Attorney General for any mergers, partnerships, or agreements with for-profit entities or corporations. Attorney General Bonta forced complex and unnecessary restrictions before the sale, including price rate caps on all hospital services for five years, causing the deal to fall through and the hospital to close.
SB 774 would prohibit the California Attorney General from putting conditions on hospital mergers, partnership, 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.