Colorado General Assembly Democrats on Friday issued the following press release in which Gov. Jared Polis signed two bills into law, including one sponsored by Avon Democrat Dylan Roberts, designed to increase transparency in hospital reporting:
Governor Polis today signed two bipartisan bills to increase transparency in hospital reporting requirements and increase pricing transparency for health care services to save Colorado patients money.
“Colorado Democrats are committed to making health care more affordable for Coloradans, and this new law will improve hospital transparency requirements so we can build future policies that save Coloradans money,said Rep. Chris deGruy Kennedy, D-Lakewood, sponsor of HB23-1226.Hospitals can move money from one state to another, making it difficult to know where profits are going and why the cost of care continues to rise faster than inflation. With this new law, we will have a deeper understanding of Colorado hospital cash flow so we can devise cost-saving measures for patients and businesses.
In the communities I represent in Western Colorado, affordable health care can be too hard or impossible to find, said Senator Dylan Roberts, D-Avon, sponsor of HB23-1226. I am proud of our bipartisan bill to improve hospital financial transparency reporting, increase compliance, and collect data that will give us the best information possible to help inform new policies to improve health care administration and save Coloradans money. .
HB23-1226, also sponsored by Republican Senator Perry Will and Representative Matt Soper, builds on hospital transparency legislation also adopted by Representative Chris deGruy Kennedy in 2019 to strengthen price transparency and reduce health care costs. Under HB23-1226, hospitals will be required to publish an annual summary of hospital transfers of cash, stock, investments or other assets to and from related parties, a hospital-specific cash flow statement, a descriptive statement of hospital investments capital exceeding $25 million, the salary and total compensation of the top 5 highest paying administrative positions of each non-profit hospital, and more.
The transparency data will identify the drivers behind high hospital costs and strengthen data collection on the financial health and performance of Colorado hospitals. The Department of Health Care Policy and Finance will have the power to apply corrective action plans or fines to hospitals that fail to comply with data collection procedures. Hospitals will also be required to provide patients with a detailed list of billed services and related charges, and disclose patients’ rights to receive more detailed information about billed services.
Colorado locals deserve to know what their medical bills will be like before having treatment or surgery, said Sen. Julie Gonzales, D-Denver, sponsor of SB23-252. We’ve made great strides in our work to protect consumers and reduce health care costs, but there’s still a lot we can do. It’s time to take the next step and increase medical pricing transparency so Coloradians aren’t blindsided by large bills after receiving treatment.
Price transparency for healthcare services is key, so Colorado patients aren’t blindsided by large hospital bills they have no choice but to pay, said Rep. Lindsey Daugherty, D-Arvada, sponsor of SB23-252. This disclosure law allows patients to budget for inpatient and outpatient care, surgery, and prescription drugs so they can get the care they need at a price they can expect. We are incorporating the federal transparency requirement into the Colorado law, which will save patients money on health care.
SB23-252 was also sponsored by Republican Senator Kevin Van Winkle and Representative Anthony Hartsook. In 2022, the General Assembly passed legislation to prohibit hospitals from pursuing a debt collection action against a patient if the hospital failed to comply with federal hospital price transparency laws while treating the patient.
Under the Federal Hospital Price Transparency Rule, hospitals must publicly publish standard rates and provide a cost estimation tool for patients. This bill builds on federal transparency requirements by having hospitals publish their Medicare reimbursement rates and by requiring the Department of Health Care Policy and Funding to conduct performance evaluations of Colorado hospitals for compliance . Any violation under SB23-252 is a deceptive business practice under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act.
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