Close to 90 percent of acute care hospital buildings in California are ready to meet a state hospital earthquake safety requirement that goes into effect in 2020, but in 2030 the law gets even stricter.

The remaining 10 percent of hospitals not in compliance are on a path to be ready by the 2020 deadline, which mandates that all health care facilities must withstand risk of collapse after a strong earthquake, says Robert David, director, California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

While hospitals that fail to meet the seismic safety requirement after 2020 will face losing their licenses, David is optimistic that won’t happen. Hospitals with buildings that have significant structural deficiencies or a probability of collapse during an earthquake greater than the threshold set by the state are required to remove those buildings from service by 2020 or be retrofitted.

The more stringent requirement that starts in 2030 requires all acute care hospitals to be deemed safe and reasonably capable of providing services to the public following an earthquake. The seismic activity laws were toughened in 1994 after the Northridge earthquake damaged or rendered unusable 10 hospitals.