California hospitals would need to invest between $34 billion and $143 billion statewide to meet 2030 state seismic safety standards, according to the latest cost estimate by the RAND Corporation. A state law enacted after the 1994 Northridge Earthquake requires hospitals to pay for upgrades to reduce their risk of collapse by 2020 and to remain operational after an earthquake by 2030. According to the RAND report, one in three California hospitals are currently in financial distress, which could rise to more than 50 percent as hospitals comply with the law. “There is little question that it is in the public interest to have seismically resilient hospitals,” said lead author Benjamin Preston, director of RAND's Community Health and Environmental Policy Program. “But given that hospitals most at risk of collapse will be upgraded by 2020, there is an opportunity for analysis and discussion for how to most effectively and efficiently enhance resilience in health service delivery in the future.” The report was funded by the California Hospital Association.

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