|Targeted News Service|
1. Charity Care Accountability
AB 975, jointly authored by Assembly member
The bill would:
* Clearly define what constitutes charity care which must be the direct provision of care to the uninsured or underinsured, not promotional activities, marketing, cost containment, or other activities more intended to generate profit.
* Set similar restrictions on the definition of "community benefit" programs.
* Improve reporting requirements for greater public transparency in how hospitals are meeting their charity care obligation, with financial penalties for hospitals that fail to meet reporting requirements.
* Establish a mandatory minimum level of charity care that all private nonprofit hospitals must meet to maintain eligibility for tax-exempt status of 5 percent of the hospital's net revenue.
According to last year's CNA report, based on public records, half of
"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
2. Curbing Workplace Violence
SB 718, authored by Sen.
The bill would also require hospitals to investigate and report acts of violence to the
The problem of hospital workplace violence has gained prominence with a number of attacks in recent years and coincides with cuts in mental health services and programs by healthcare providers.
3. Public Transparency and Accountability for New California Health Insurers
With the implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act, more healthcare insurance companies and other industry players are seeking to cash in on the lucrative profits of enrolling additional members who are required to buy insurance.
AB 578, authored by Assembly member
4. Extending Safety Standards
SB 631, authored by Sen.
An increasing number of hospitals are diverting patients from hospitals to outpatient clinics as well as to "observation" units, often adjacent to emergency rooms, where they can be held for prolonged stays without being formally admitted to in-patient hospital beds which have tougher regulatory oversight than clinics and observation units.
The Time report noted that outpatient services have now become a major driver of rising healthcare costs, while becoming "wildly profitable." A McKinsey survey found outpatient emergency-room care averages an operating profit margin of 15 percent and nonemergency outpatient care averages 35 percent, compared to inpatient profit margins of about 2 percent. "Experts estimate that outpatient services are now packed with so much hidden profit that about two-thirds of the
"The legislature and the public should have a greater understanding of how healthcare 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.
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