New law requires Colorado hospitals to report annual spending

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed legislation March 28 that requires hospitals to publicly disclose more of their financial information.

A news release from his office says the bipartisan transparency bill, HB19-1001, is aimed at reducing healthcare costs in the state. Currently, hospitals account for 39 percent of those costs.

"Coloradans are tired of overpaying for healthcare, and this landmark, bipartisan transparency bill is the first step in the process of getting a handle on these costs," said Mr. Polis. "This bill will enable clearer analysis of how each hospital is utilizing public dollars and will allow us to identify and address the cost drivers that leave Coloradans with exorbitant hospital bills. This is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to reducing healthcare costs, but it's an important one."

The legislation directs the state department of healthcare policy and financing to prepare an annual report detailing uncompensated costs and expenditures using publicly available data sources and self-reported information from hospitals.

The department must submit the report to the governor, specific committees of the general assembly and the medical services board in the department by Jan. 15, 2020, and annually after that.

The legislation comes after a draft analysis suggested that commercial insurance premiums have increased as a result of rising Colorado hospital costs and margins. Hospitals have attributed the cost shift to factors such as declining Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement rates and political instability.

Mr. Polis said the new legislation will allow policymakers "to differentiate between hospitals in different regions of the state, adopt policies that will lower costs and track whether or not savings from reform efforts are passed on to consumers."


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