Healthcare Reform

Southwest California Businesses Urge Governor to Assist in Opening Rancho Springs Hospital

The Temecula Valley, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore Valley, Menifee Valley and Wildomar Chambers of Commerce through their regional advocacy coalition, the Southwest California Legislative Council (SWCLC) delivered 1,500 letters from concerned business and community members to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Riverside Office on Friday urging the Governor to help open Rancho Springs Hospital in Murrieta.

Click here to submit your letter of support!

Click here to download the Californian article.

Roger Ziemer, Chair of the SWCLC, held a press conference in the Governor’s office after the letters are delivered.

(Left to Right) Former SWCLC Chairs Greg Morrison, Gene Wunderlich, Dennis Frank, and Current Chair Roger Ziemer with (middle) Larry Grable in front of over 1,500 letters.
The SWCLC has been working with the cities of Temecula, Lake Elsinore, Murrieta and Wildomar and area legislators Senators Dennis Hollingsworth, John J. Benoit and Assembly Members Kevin Jeffries, Brian Nestande to draw attention to the way hospitals are permitted and licensed in the State.

“We are asking the Governor to work with us by drawing attention to the process by which hospitals have to experience in order to open and the arbitrary requirements made by multiple agencies,” stated Roger Ziemer, Chair of the SWCLC.

“The Rancho Springs Hospital is a prime example of a facility that is fully furnished and staffed and has completed all requirements to open but the bureaucracy in California has put everything on hold. Jobs, quality of life, and critical emergency care for our region has been put on hold do to the dragging of the feet of these agencies,” Ziemer continued.

Background

Gene Wunderlich (left), Founding Chair of the SWCLC, discusses the impact of the hospital with Larry Grable, Director of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Riverside Office.
The Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) and the California Department of Health Services (CDPH) are responsible for reviewing and approving applications to construct and license new healthcare facilities in California.

In early November 2008, Rancho Springs Medical Center, located in the City of Murrieta, completed a $53,000,000 state of the art expanded hospital facility; almost five months after completion Rancho Springs still has not received final approval licensing to open the facility. The completed facility is staffed with 60 medical professionals including nurses, nurse practitioners, and physicians, along with a new Emergency Department, Women’s Unit, and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, but unable to provide much needed medical services to an already statistically proven underserved population.

April 3, 2009

Urgent Action Needed: Save Rancho Springs Medical Center

If you have submitted your letter of support, thank you! The response so far is overwhelming. If you have not submitted your letter of support, please do so today! Your voice must be heard!

Click here to submit your letter of support!

The Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) and the California Department of Health Services (CDPH) are responsible for reviewing and approving applications to construct and license new healthcare facilities in California.

In early November 2008, Rancho Springs Medical Center, located in the City of Murrieta, completed a $53,000,000 state of the art expanded hospital facility; almost five months after completion Rancho Springs still has not received final approval licensing to open the facility.

The completed facility is fully, furnished and staffed with 60 medical professionals including nurses, nurse practitioners, and physicians, but unable to provide much needed medical services to an already statistically proven underserved population.

The opening of the facility is stalled due to CDPH’s unwillingness to approve the project, directly and negatively impacting the taxpaying citizens of the region.

We need your letter of support urging the Governor to help approve the project!

August 13, 2008

Southwest California Businesses Defeat Multi-Billion Dollar Job-Killer Mandate

The Temecula Valley, Murrieta and Lake Elsinore Valley Chambers of Commerce through their regional advocacy coalition, the Southwest California Legislative Council (SWCLC) along with businesses throughout the region stopped a proposed law, AB 2716, that would have unreasonably expanded employer’s costs and liability by mandating a specific paid sick leave policy.

The SWCLC testified in opposition to the proposed law in a California State Senate Committee in Sacramento last month and hand-delivered over 100 letters of opposition from the Temecula Valley, Murrieta and Lake Elsinore Valley businesses.

“Businesses throughout our region responded quickly when we educated them on the devastating impacts this proposal would have had on our business community,” stated Greg Morrison SWCLC Chair.

The proposed sick leave law, also known as AB 2716, would have covered all employees, so that part-time, seasonal and temporary workers would earn paid sick days. The proposed law mandated, without exception, that all employers provide paid sick leave to an employee after seven days of work in a calendar year to care for their own illness, or to provide to a sick child, spouse, domestic partner or other relative. Furthermore, AB 2716 would have created a record-keeping system in order to keep track of the mandated sick leave time even after an employee left his or her job in case that employee returned to work some time later.

August 15, 2007

Temecula Valley, Murrieta and Lake Elsinore Valley Chambers of Commerce Say “No” To Major Tax Payroll Tax Increase

Temecula Valley, Murrieta and Lake Elsinore Valley Chambers of Commerce opposes the Legislature’s proposal to fix our broken healthcare system. The proposed fix, AB 8, creates a government-run healthcare system for employees who do not receive healthcare from their employers. The bill attempts to fix our broken healthcare system almost exclusively by a payroll tax on all employers who do not spend a certain level of funding on employee healthcare.

“Temecula Valley businesses provide healthcare coverage to thousands of workers and their dependents,” stated Alice Sullivan, President and CEO of the Temecula Valley Chamber. “We support the goal of increasing healthcare coverage to more people by increasing insurance affordability – without undermining our economy. Unfortunately, AB 8 does not meet this goal,” continued Sullivan.

Early calculations indicate the new tax might not raise the required revenues needed to provide the benefits as indicated in the proposed new law. AB 8 imposes a new payroll tax of 7.5 percent on employers who do not currently spend that much on healthcare. Furthermore, an appointed volunteer board of bureaucrats would be given the right to increase the healthcare payroll tax, as needed, in order to cover any underestimated costs.

A 7.5 percent tax on the payrolls of low-wage employers will not provide enough revenue to purchase the average HMO plans envisioned in the legislation; much more revenue will be needed. And since health care cost inflation grows more rapidly than payroll, even more taxes will be needed in the future as the gap between the costs of the new program and collected revenues only widens.

Furthermore, rather than seek to contain costs and address access through increased affordability, AB 8 simply imposes an illegal tax on employers who can’t afford to purchase health insurance. Labeling this new health care tax a “fee” that can be approved by a simple legislative majority violates the will of the people, who amended our state constitution to require a two-thirds vote for tax increases when they passed Proposition 13.

July 16, 2007

Temecula Valley, Murrieta and Lake Elsinore Valley Chambers of CommerceIncrease Its Role in Health Care Reform Discussions

The Temecula Valley, Murrieta and Lake Elsinore Valley Chambers of Commerce are reviewing the escalating costs of the health care system in California.  In mid-June 2007 the three chambers joined with the California Small Business Health Coalition to address the issue of affordability in our health care system.

“The affordability of health care is eroding the ability of California families and small businesses to afford health insurance.  Premiums continue to increase dramatically, causing an unsustainable burden for California small businesses and consumers,” stated Kim Cousins, President and CEO of the Chamber.

“Today, the average cost of family coverage is over $10,000 annually, with the average business paying for 72% of those costs.  With costs out of control, more and more families are losing their health insurance coverage,” stated Rex Oliver, President and CEO of the Murrieta Chamber of Commerce.

While some people point to uninsured families as proof of a health care crisis, the uninsured is merely a symptom of the true problem – out of control health care costs.  Unless our broken health care system is fixed, costs will continue to rise and erode the ability for small businesses to provide access to health care for their employees and for individuals to attain coverage.

Here are the top three principles of the coalition:

 

First Step – Address Out-of-Control Costs in the Health Care System

Significant annual percentage increases for the cost of health care premiums in California only serve to highlight that our system is broken.  California cannot afford to forget the lessons learned from the once out-of-control worker’s compensation system that was responsible for damaging the state’s business economy.

No Employer Mandate

According to the Public Policy Institute of California, an employer mandate will only result in lower wages, layoffs, and the continued erosion of the state’s ability to compete in the global marketplace. An employer mandate will not provide universal health care coverage to almost 2/3rds of the 6 million uninsured individuals in California.  While several proposals are already being discussed individual accountability and respect for free market decisions that would help contain costs should be a part of any solution.

A Uniform and Broad-Based Funding Mechanism/Do Not Segment Employers Based on Size

Any funding mechanism for a reformed health system should be uniform and broad-based.  Small businesses and labor-intensive companies are disproportionally impacted when funding is based on a business’ size or employment levels.  Segmenting the industry creates harmful market distortions that will cause employers to artificially control employment levels to stay under limits and reclassify positions from full-time to part-time.  This will surely stifle small business growth in California.

April 15, 2007

Regional Business Community Working to Reduce Health Care Costs

The Temecula Valley, Murrieta and Lake Elsinore Valley chambers of commerce are working with Corona-area Assemblymember Todd Spitzer and the Corona Chamber of Commerce to offer solutions to our state’s health care crisis.

The rising costs of health care in California are making it difficult for businesses, especially small business, to afford to offer health care benefits to employees and their dependents. It is estimated that one out of every five Californians are without health insurance.

“We are committed to offering reasonable solutions to the health care crisis,” stated Dennis Frank, Chair of the Southwest California Legislative Council (SWCLC). “Mandating new taxes on business is not the best solution. There are other ways we can cut health care costs,” Frank continued.

The SWCLC is seeking the support of the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) to review their guidelines and practices concerning plans and construction applications for health care facilities in California. When a hospital construction project is submitted to OSHPD for approval, the plans and construction application is reviewed by OSHPD staff to ensure that both are complete. If it is determined that the plans and the construction application is complete, both enter into a queue for a subsequent array of reviews. After the reviews are complete, OSHPD will usually return the plans to the hospital architect, often requesting corrections.

The corrected plans are then sent back into OSHPD for a “back-check.” If the plans are then deemed acceptable by OSHPD, the process is complete. If there are still problems with the plans, they are again sent back to the hospital’s architect for further corrections until OSHPD agrees that the plans meet the building code requirements.

The SWCLC  is concerned that the fees associated with the review process are enormous and review times are protracted and prolonged. Both the fees and the inordinately excessive review times drive up project costs, ultimately impacting a rise in health care costs for employees and employers, and ultimately the patient. Furthermore, consumers are impacted by delays in hospital services caused by the excessive review times.

“We are committed to working with OSHPD to streamline project timelines and costs,” stated Frank. “We look forward to working with OSHPD in the coming months on this important issue.”

March 3, 2007

Business Community Takes a Stand on Health Care Reform

The Governor and other leaders have proposed several reforms to the state’s health care crisis. These proposals will be debated in the state capitol in the coming months. The Southwest California Legislative Council (SWCLC) will establish its position on a specific health care reform plan in the coming months.

The following defines the SWCLC current position is to support reforms that:

– Preserves the current voluntary employer-provided health coverage system;
– Contains the costs of premiums;
– Conforms to federal law on health savings accounts;
– Allows employers to offer more affordable benefit plans that allow choices in coverage;
– Prevents cost shifting from government-provided programs to the private sector;
– Curbs the expansion of litigation in the health care system, and;
– Supports the wellness and disease management education programs.

“We want our business community to know the Temecula Valley, Murrieta and Lake Elsinore Valley chambers of commerce are actively tracking all health care reform proposals in the state legislature,” stated Dennis Frank, Chair of the SWCLC. “We are also dedicated to protecting businesses impacted by any health care reform plan,” continued Frank.

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