Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia’s Legislation Extending Hospital Loan Repayments Achieves Success in the State Assembly

Assemblymember Garcia in Committee

(SACRAMENTO, CA) — On Thursday, May 23, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) successfully passed AB 2098 before the State Assembly. This measure would extend the repayment requirements for nondesignated public hospitals participating in a California Health Facilities Financing Authority loan program. During dire economic times, repaying these loans can push struggling district and municipal hospitals to the brink of financial insolvency. This extension measure would offer much-needed relief to financially burdened hospitals like those in the communities Garcia serves.

“Granting additional time to repay these loans can make all the difference for hospitals struggling to keep afloat. A majority of these hospitals reside in medically underserved areas where they may be the sole providers of lifesaving medical care. Medically underserved areas, like ours in Imperial County, cannot risk the loss of a hospital and disruptions to care. A repayment extension can prevent the collapse of local hospital systems and ensure local health and emergency services remain available to patients when and where they are needed — protecting access to care and saving lives,” said Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia.

As Imperial County grapples with an urgent healthcare crisis, El Centro Regional Medical Center and Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District have received nearly $17 million in loan funds from the California Health Facilities Financing Authority program and would greatly benefit from an extension.

Due to these persistent financial issues, Assemblymember Garcia has devoted legislative efforts to exploring avenues of financial relief to protect district hospitals at risk of closure and improve access to lifesaving medical care. Included in those efforts was the creation of a separate zero-interest loan program where Garcia  delivered an additional $64.5 million for local hospitals experiencing extreme financial distress, with El Centro Regional Medical Center and Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District each receiving $28 million and $8.5 million designated for Palo Verde Hospital in Blythe. With those additional amounts added to the total of state loan funds needing repayment, this California Health Facilities Financing Authority loan extension measure becomes all the more crucial.   

Having secured approval from the State Assembly, AB 2098 will now advance to the State Senate.