House Democrats working to lower the cost of health care

(Apr. 29) – The House passed Assistant Majority Leader Chris Kennedy and Rep. Susan Lontine’s bill requiring non-profit hospitals to submit an annual community health needs assessment and benefit implementation plan to the state so that the hospitals can better prioritize investments in community activities that improve health outcomes.

“Nonprofit hospitals are given tax-exempt status with the understanding that they will reinvest money back into their communities. We have reason to believe that not all hospitals are spending this money in a way that best benefits their community-identified health needs,” said Rep. Chris Kennedy, D-Lakewood. “This bill will allow us to compare hospital community benefit spending on an apples-to-apples basis and encourage more hospitals to invest in the things that count.”

According to data collected by the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), hospital costs account for 39 percent of health care spending nationwide. The bill is designed to increase the transparency of hospital investments in community health by requiring all nonprofit hospitals to submit annual reports to the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) regarding their community benefit activities.

The Colorado Hospital Association supports the bill.

“Our non-profit hospitals are here to serve the public good and their local communities. This important bill ensures non-profit hospitals are financially transparent and that community voices are able to guide the investments of non-profit hospitals that are meant to best serve their community,” said Rep. Lontine, D- Denver.

Rep. Lontine is chair of the House Health and Insurance committee.

Earlier this year, Rep. Kennedy’s bipartisan hospital transparency bill was signed into law.

HB19-1320 passed on a bipartisan vote of 45-20.  The bill now goes to the Senate.

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