Up to 60 percent of low-risk hospitals across the state will not have to complete a seismic retrofit and replacement until 2030 after the state approved new regulations Nov. 14.
The remaining 40 percent to 50 percent of what are considered high-risk hospitals will still be required to undergo earthquake compliance changes by Jan. 1, 2013, according to Jan Emerson, vice president of external affairs at the Sacramento-based California Hospital Association.
Using new technology called Hazus, which was created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 1,100 hospitals will be reevaluated, and possibly reclassified from high risk to low risk. The original technology was developed in 1992.
Low-risk hospitals may save up to $4.6 billion, said Emerson, citing estimates from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. Total retrofitting and replacing was predicted at $110 billion.
Proponents of the new regulations, which were approved by the California Building Standards Commission, worried that hospitals would be closed in 2013 if the retrofit was not completed. Opponents announced concern about hospital safety.
, Jaimy Lee