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Gridley Herald

Hospital Association Applauds Dahle’s Bill to Save Rural Hospitals

Apr 17, 2024 03:43PM ● By Office of Senator Brian Dahle News Release
Senator Dahle stands with California Hospital Association advocates. Photo courtesy of the Office of Senator Brian Dahle

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Senator Brian Dahle (R-Bieber) recently met with members of the California Hospital Association (CHA) to discuss his landmark legislation, Senate Bill 1423. As a sponsor of the bill, CHA advocates spent their Capitol Day meeting with Democrat and Republican legislators underscoring the need for the measure and much-needed change to the state’s healthcare system.

“Investing in critical access hospitals is essential to guarantee that Californians have access to quality healthcare services. These hospitals play a crucial role in serving vulnerable populations, particularly those residing in rural and underserved areas. We must continue to support and invest in these hospitals to strengthen our healthcare system,” stated Dahle. “I appreciate the members’ collaboration and taking the time to come to Sacramento. They’re on the forefront fighting to keep these critical hospitals open.”

With a looming state budget deficit, and the existing system as a road to bankruptcy for rural health providers, Senator Dahle introduced SB 1423 earlier in the year to preserve vital emergency and acute-care services for California’s rural residents. The bill would require Medi-Cal to pay the actual costs of providing outpatient services in designated critical access hospitals.

Currently, the 37 critical access hospitals serving rural communities in California are not fully reimbursed for providing outpatient services to patients covered by Medi-Cal, resulting in the hospitals losing money for every dollar spent on caring for patients. SB 1423 changes that so these hospitals continue to be an indispensable part of the health care system for rural California.

“SB 1423 is not just a healthcare initiative; it's an economic cornerstone for rural communities. By supporting critical access hospitals, we're preserving not only local healthcare access but also sustaining jobs and stimulating economic growth. Keeping these hospitals open means securing a healthier future and a more vibrant economy for our rural areas,” said Rena Salamacha, CEO of Mee Memorial Healthcare System.

Support for Senate Bill 1423 continues to grow and will be heard in the Senate Health Committee on April 24.

Another critical healthcare measure Dahle authored, Senate Bill 1258, would provide much-needed fiscal relief for California providers.