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Hospitals Given More Time For Seismic Upgrades

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The state Legislature has approved urgency legislation giving California hospitals more time to comply with seismic safety requirements and clearing the way for some hospitals to receive Medi-Cal reimbursements.

SB90 allows hospitals that now face a 2013 deadline to apply for a seven-year extension to prove their buildings will be safe during an earthquake.

The bill passed the Assembly 64-3 on Thursday. Opponents expressed concerns about hospitals’ ability to withstand major earthquakes.

The same legislation also extended for six months the fees hospitals pay to support Med-Cal.

Not all hospitals participate in the state-federal health care program for the poor, but all are required to help fund it. Extending the fee will result in a net reimbursement of $860 million to participating hospitals.

The bill was sent to the governor.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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