King and Torres: Democrat bill (SB 5241) could lead to hospital closures

Many fear a bill passed in the state Senate could lead to hospital closures and put lives in rural communities at risk.

The Democrat legislation that passed in the Senate with no Republican support would require the State Attorney General to sign off on hospital mergers and acquisitions.

Senator Curtis King says if this huge layer of bureaucracy had been around when a Yakima hospital was forced to sell to survive, there would be no hospital in Yakima.

The Democrats say the Attorney General oversight is needed to make sure communities don’t see diminished care, but Senator Nikki Torres says it may actually lead to no care at all.

The hospital in that community closed, leaving a health care desert.

The bill now heads to the House.