California authority OKs $1.9 bln in bonds for hospital projects

SAN FRANCISCO, April 9 Tue Apr 9, 2013 6:15pm EDT

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SAN FRANCISCO, April 9 (Reuters) - The California Health Facilities Financing Authority on Tuesday approved a $1.9 billion bond sale, its largest ever, for the Kaiser Foundation Hospitals to build 6 new hospitals and expand an existing one.

The tax-exempt bond financing is needed to help the health care provider meet California's earthquake safety regulations, according to State Treasurer Bill Lockyer's office.

Lockyer chairs the financing authority. In a statement he said the bonds sold by the authority - which provides low cost financing, including tax-exempt bond financing, to nonprofit and public hospitals - would help Californians in underserved communities.

"Unlike any other issuer in the state, CHFFA uses fee revenues not needed to cover its operational costs to provide low-cost loans and grants to small and rural clinics so they can build facilities, buy equipment and expand access to care," Lockyer noted.

The Kaiser Foundation Hospitals will also use funds from the bond sale to build a specialty medical office.

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