Our State Assemblymember, Mary Hayashi, let us all down yesterday. The Assembly Health Committee voted 9-6 on State Senator Ellen Corbett's SB-196, which would require more public notice before an ER can be closed. However, the bill needed 10 votes, and MARY HAYASHI DIDN'T VOTE!
Please call Hayashi's Sacramento office ASAP -- hopefully before the CNA's Bonnie Castillo meets with Hayashi at 4:00 p.m. this afternoon on this matter. You can call Hayashi's office at 916-319-2018.
Creating procedural barriers to the closure of the ER by Sutter at San Leandro Hospital can help us keep the ER open permanently. This would provide greater time for us to build community pressure across Alameda County on Sutter and the Board of Supervisors. As noted in an analysis of SB 196:
When a hospital closes or eliminates a health service, it has a dramatic effect on the availability, quality, and accessibility of care. This bill adds 90 days notice of the closure of the emergency department (ED), for a total of 180 days, and requires the hospital to hold three public meetings. This additional notice, the author states, will allow the public to find solutions to keep their emergency rooms open, find a new provider, or increase revenue to keep the local hospital open.
When it comes to legislation that will make a difference for our community, the perfect should not be the enemy of the good. That sadly appears to be what occurred.
Here is a link to a story on Hayashi's non vote:
"The bill language needed more work because in its present form, SB196 does not save San Leandro Hospital's emergency room," Hayashi said in her statement. "It provides for a longer notice and more public hearings regarding the closure of an emergency room, but does not address the immediate situation and does not provide for any stops to the closure. SB196 requires significant amendments in order to strengthen efforts to keep this hospital's emergency room open, including two bills, AB1427 and AB1235, that I have introduced."
Hayashi said she views Corbett's bill "as a valuable work-in-progress" and she looks forward to working with Corbett on the issue.
Corbett replied her bill does address San Leandro's immediate problem and — in conjunction with all the networking she has done with community organizers, Alameda County supervisors and staff members, and others — would've done the trick. "The bill speaks for itself: It forestalls a closure by allowing for more time to keep the hospital open — that's how it stops the closure."
And in a statement issued by Corbett's office, California Nurses Association governmental relations director Bonnie Castillo said it's "shocking that Assemblywoman Hayashi would stall this critical piece of legislation, after she has publicly stated her support for keeping San Leandro Hospital open."