Because of the poor economy, Catholic Healthcare West and many other providers in California will not be able to meet upcoming deadlines for structural improvements that were mandated in 1994 to help the hospitals to better withstand earthquakes.
CHW disclosed its inability to meet the 2013 and 2015 deadlines for up to 14 facilities in audited financial statements: “Reasonable start and completion dates for future seismic projects cannot be accurately projected until the nation's economic recovery and stabilization of adequate reimbursement can generate sufficient revenue to fund the cost of hospital capital requirements.”
CHW said that a group of facilities representing one-third of all the hospital beds in the state have banded together to urge the state lawmakers to change the deadlines or reduce the structural requirements. A bill to do that is expected to be debated in the Legislature next spring.
Roger Richter, senior vice president of professional services at the California Hospital Association, said the situation at 38-hospital CHW illustrates how the building-code mandates are pinching not just smaller rural hospitals, but large systems as well. “There are a number of hospitals that because of the economy just cannot afford to meet these seismic deadlines, and many of them are larger systems who a couple years ago thought it would be no problem,” Richter said.