As the Hospital Council team looks back on everything our hospital members have accomplished this past year, the first thing that comes to mind is the word resilience. Unfortunately, we started the year with the closure of Madera Community Hospital on Jan. 3, which drew attention to the significant financial challenges that hospitals face in California. Before Madera’s closure, many elected officials wrongly believed hospitals were flush with money and too big to fail, but the reality is over half of California’s hospitals have negative margins.
2023 was a year of change with legislative and regulatory issues and transitions in hospital leadership. There were 84 CEO changes – 40% of CEOs in the Hospital Council service area. Despite these leadership shifts, Hospital Council built and strengthened relationships and communication with our members on the many local, regional, state, and federal issues directly impacting hospitals.
Additional success came in the form of private and public partnerships in multiple counties to enhance behavioral health resources. As a result, hospitals in the Hospital Council region will see an additional 426 new inpatient beds in the next 18 months and nearly 30,000 additional funded slots for crisis stabilization, intensive outpatient and inpatient services, and counseling in 2024.
We also saw continued progress in preventing public safety power shutoffs (PSPS). That’s when utilities temporarily turn off power to specific areas to reduce the risk of fires caused by electrical infrastructure. We worked with PG&E to get zero hours of PSPS impact to hospitals in 2023, the third consecutive year achieving this after seeing 994 combined hours of PSPS power interruptions in 2019. To promote the undergrounding of electrical infrastructure, Hospital Council provided the California Public Utilities Commission with testimony, authored multiple editorials, and created videos supporting the funding of undergrounding. A dependable supply of power is essential to our hospitals and the patients they serve every day.
Time and time again, our hospitals continue to find creative and innovative solutions to the challenges they face. Although there is still much work to be done in 2024, your Hospital Council team is committed to working in partnership with CHA, community partners, and elected officials to ensure the highest quality care is provided to all Californians.
I hope you feel inspired by the hard work of our hospitals to stay resilient in your own life, no matter what challenges you may be facing. On behalf of the entire Hospital Council team, we wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season.