Colorado lawmaker seeks deep dive into how hospitals spend tax dollars

A Colorado lawmaker wants to make changes that would shed more light into how hospitals are spending state and federal dollars, The Denver Post reported.

Rep. Chris Kennedy, D-Lakewood, is sponsoring HB19-1001, which calls for the state's department of healthcare policy and financing, in consultation with the state's healthcare affordability and sustainability enterprise board, to develop and prepare an annual report showing uncompensated hospital costs and the different categories of hospital spending.

The bill would require Colorado hospitals to provide the department with hospital cost reports submitted to CMS; annual audited financial statements; the amount of unreimbursed care; and the gross patient service revenue.

"If we give regulators the tools to do their jobs, the hope is they can be more effective," Mr. Kennedy told the Post.

The bill comes after a Post investigation last year revealed that the average capital and administrative costs of a hospital visit in Colorado increased at nearly double the rate of the national average from 2009 to 2016. The publication also cited a December 2018 report from the Colorado Healthcare Affordability and Sustainability Enterprise, which found that reimbursement from Colorado when compared to the cost per patient has climbed 153 percent since 2009. At the same time, the amount privately insured individuals paid above the cost of their services rose 63 percent.

Mr. Kennedy aims to decrease the amount privately insured individuals must pay for hospital services through financial reporting changes.

A hearing on the bill is scheduled for Jan. 16.

 

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