Press Release

RNs to Unveil New Findings on California Hospital Charges

As Nurses Gather in Sacramento to Press for Reforms

In the wake of Medicare data just released on individual hospital charges, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United will unveil new findings on how much hospitals jack up their charges on total costs in a Tuesday press conference in Sacramento.

The press event coincides with the arrival of scores of  CNA members who will be in Sacramento to encourage state lawmakers to support important healthcare reform bills, including one to hold non-profit hospitals to account on meeting their charity care obligation.

What:  Nurses Press Conference
When:  Tuesday, May 14, 12:30 p.m.
Where:  State Capitol, North Steps, Sacramento

At the press conference CNA leaders, joined by lawmakers, will discuss the new findings, along with AB 975, jointly authored by Assembly members Bob Wieckowski and Rob Bonta that would reform state policies regarding hospital provision of charity care, and S 718 by Senator Leland Yee to set new protocols for mitigating hospital workplace violence.

Wieckowski and Yee are scheduled to speak at the press conference along with nurses.

The data on how much hospitals charge above their costs is based on publicly available federal data, analyzed by the Institute for Health and Socio-Economic Policy, the CNA/NNU research arm. The IHSP has been studying the date for a number of years and calculated the connection of charges to rising healthcare costs generally.

AB 975 is presently waiting for disposition on the Assembly Appropriations suspense file. The bill follows a report last August by the California State Auditor that documented a wide variance among not-for-profit hospitals in how much uncompensated care they provide, and the methodology they employ for calculating charity care. The Auditor recommended the legislature consider establishing specific standards for community benefit plans with penalties for non-compliance.
AB 975 would clearly define charity care to ensure it is care for the poor, not marketing, cutting of services or other schemes, and redefine genuine community benefit, and assure greater public transparency. Public, VA, UC and small rural hospitals are exempted.

SB 718 would require hospitals to investigate and report acts of violence to Cal/OSHA, and monitor situations involving the risk of violence. It would also establish financial penalties for failure to report to California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal-OSHA).

Consideration of SB 718 comes with an increase in incidents of violence in hospitals and other healthcare settings. SB 718 will be heard Monday, May 13 by the Senate Appropriations Committee.