RCRC supports Senate Bill 1269, authored by Senator Steven Padilla (D-San Diego), which defines “safety net hospital”. This measure will help deliver health equity by allowing policymakers to support vulnerable health care patients and their providers.

Rural hospitals, and those that serve large Medi-Cal populations, are struggling to meet the growing needs of vulnerable communities and the expanding Medi-Cal population. They face the challenge of lower reimbursement rates and, in 2022, safety net hospitals lost $864 million from operations. Nearly two-thirds of safety net hospitals are operating at a loss.

These safety net providers are often the only available health care in the rural and under resourced communities. The communities also rely on these safety net providers as economic drivers. The state cannot afford to lose these providers, and creating a definition allows future policies to be developed to ensure their continued operation.

Defining ”safety net hospital” is critical for addressing the unique needs of those hospitals when developing far-reaching health care policies.

RCRC’s letter of support is available here. For additional information, contact RCRC Policy Advocate Sarah Dukett.