California Gov. Gavin Newsom Tuesday signed two bills into law requiring healthcare providers to create stockpiles of personal protective equipment or face up to $25,000 in fines per violation.
The most immediate impact will be felt on general acute-care hospitals, which must build up a three-month supply of PPE by April 1, 2021. A second bill Newsom signed, S.B. 275, requires providers, including hospitals, clinics and home health agencies, to create a 45-day supply and the California Department of Public Health to have a 90-day stockpile by June 1, 2023, or one year after the adoption of the regulations, whichever is later.
"Unfortunately, in signing both bills about personal protective equipment supply, the administration has created double jeopardy for hospitals—subjecting them to disparate requirements and penalties," Carmela Coyle, president and CEO of the California Hospital Association said in a statement. "But, as always, California's hospitals stand ready to work together with others on the front lines of COVID to find meaningful, long-term solutions to increase the availability of appropriate personal protective equipment to keep patients and workers safe."
SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West and the California Nurses Association backed the legislative efforts.
"This law will make sure we will never be caught off-guard again when a pandemic or other health emergency hits our state," Jessica Rodriguez, an emergency department technician at Kaiser Oakland, said about S.B. 275 in a SEIU press release. "Too many healthcare and other essential workers have gotten sick and needlessly died because we did not have the supplies of PPE we desperately needed to treat COVID-19 patients. Many lives will be saved because of this new law."
Earlier this month, Jan Emerson-Shea, vice president of external affairs for CHA, told Modern Healthcare that the April 1 deadline will be "complicated by the continuing global supply shortage and the fact that we will likely still be in the midst of the pandemic."