[Oct. 3, 2017] WATSONVILLE, Calif. – Healthcare workers filed a ballot initiative for the November 2018 municipal election that seeks to protect patients from being overcharged by Watsonville Community Hospital and other healthcare facilities.
“This initiative will help rein in prices at the hospital and allow area families to more easily access affordable care,” said Chris Gil, a surgical technician at Watsonville Community Hospital. “No one should have to think twice about going to their local hospital just because it costs more than the facility down the road.”
The proposed ballot initiative would limit Watsonville Community Hospital and various other medical facilities in the city from charging patients more than 15 percent above a reasonable cost of providing care. Excess charges would be refunded to patients or their insurance providers.
Organizers would need to collect the signatures of 1,782 registered voters to qualify the measure for the Nov. 6, 2018 election.
According to state records, Watsonville Community Hospital charges an average of $44,988 for a healthy baby delivery and $80,742 for treating a kidney infection, whereas Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz charges an average of only $27,256 and $53,688, respectively.