Senate Bill 177, authored by state Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Simi Valley, passed the California Senate on a 33-0 vote.

Santa Barbara County has only one licensed hospice facility, and the waiting list averages eight to 12 patients, as there is no other inpatient facility in Santa Barbara County and only a small facility in neighboring Ventura County. SB 177 would increase the maximum number of patient beds allowed in Santa Barbara County.

“Patients and families facing a life-threatening illness need the kind of care and personal attention that a comprehensive program of care like hospice delivers,” Strickland said. “It is essential this kind of additional access to a high quality of care be available.

“The extra beds allowed under this bill are critical in delivering additional hospice care in the Santa Barbara region. Health care is of the utmost importance, so I’m happy to author this legislation to expand hospice care on the Central Coast.”

SB 177 now heads to the Assembly for consideration.

— Meaghan McLaughlin represents Sen. Tony Strickland, who represents California Senate District 19.