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The California Nurses Association (CNA) is sponsoring four bills that would hold hospitals more accountable with regard to their charity obligations, hospital workplace violence, and health care industry transparency upon implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
The first bill, AB 975, addresses the nearly $2 billion in tax exempt benefits that were rewarded last year to nonprofit hospitals in California. “Too many nonprofit hospitals have failed to meet the public expectation that they provide a level of charity care consistent with the huge tax breaks they receive,” said CNA Co-president Malinda Markowitz, RN. “This bill assures greater accountability and increased transparency that is sorely needed.”
AB 975 would: • Clearly define what constitutes charity care; • Clearly define “community benefit” programs; • Improve public transparency by fining hospitals that fail to meet reporting requirements; and • Establish a minimum level of charity care required for all nonprofit hospitals to maintain eligible for tax-exempt status.
The second bill, SB 718, would require hospitals to establish workplace violence prevention plans to protect workers and patients. This bill would also require hospitals to report acts of violence to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health.
The third bill, AB 578, would require the California Department of Managed Health Care to provide public notice and information about new managed care applicants to prevent health care insurance companies from cashing in on new-member enrollments resulting from the Affordable Care Act.
The fourth bill, SB 631, looks to extend safety standards to outpatient clinics, where regulatory oversight is less than that of in-patient hospitals.
“The legislature and the public should have a greater understanding of how health care providers are utilizing non-hospital settings, and whether they are appropriately placing patients in these settings, or abusing those placements to avoid greater oversight and public protection. This bill will begin an important process for making sure our patients have the protection and care they need everywhere healthcare is delivered,” said Markowitz.