Business Journal: State Changes Seismic Rules

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, June 25, 2007
California’s seismic safety law dates back more than a decade and has been a concern for hospitals that whole time. Bringing all of the state’s hospitals up to standards in which they could survive a substantial earthquake could range in cost from $50 billion all the way to $200 billion. But relief may be in sight; a state panel this week approved a change in the way earthquake risk is calculated. This move could delay compliance until 2030 for some 650 California hospitals. The state isn’t saying which ones would get a reprieve, but the change takes proximity to earthquake zones into account. So it could mean good news for the 34 Greater Sacramento hospital buildings that faced expensive repairs. The health systems that run the hospitals praised the move. But the California Nurses Association is threatening legal action to block it, saying hospital safety – not cost – should be the first concern.