Sacramento, Calif. – Healthcare organizations are calling on Governor Brown to sign a bill into law that would protect consumers and patients from bad hospital owners.
Healthcare advocates, seniors and Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) members are asking the governor to sign Senate Bill 408, which passed the California Senate Wednesday, to protect safe, quality healthcare.
“The governor must sign this bill to make it clear that hospital owners are not above the law,” said Martha Alvarez, a certified nursing assistant at Prime Healthcare-owned Centinela Hospital in Inglewood.
Prime Healthcare is the poster child for why this law is necessary. Prime is under federal and state investigations for possible Medicare fraud. It also has a record of cutting services and jobs when it buys hospitals. The company was able to purchase Alvarado Hospital in San Diego last year without applying for a new hospital license due to a loophole in existing state law. SB 408 closes that loophole by forcing Prime and other hospital buyers to obtain a new license from the California Department of Public Health before being allowed to operate a facility.
Among the healthcare and other advocacy organizations supporting SB 408 are the Consumer Federation of California, Health Access, California Congress of Seniors and the California Alliance for Retired Americans.