DENVER, CO - The House today advanced legislation on a preliminary vote to bolster community-based health care services across the state.
“Large non-profit hospital systems must invest in community-based programs to qualify for tax exemptions, but broad guidelines often leave communities without the services they need,” said Rep. Judy Amabile, D-Boulder. “By strengthening accountability for how hospitals spend resources in the community and requiring them to incorporate more feedback, we can ensure these investments reduce costs for consumers, increase access to critical services and improve public health.”
HB23-1243 centers hospitals’ community benefit spending around local under-privileged communities by incorporating community feedback into the community benefit implementation plan and restricting the amount of out-of-state spending that can be counted as “community benefit” spending. The bill would also require each reporting hospital to seek feedback from their community during its annual proposed community benefit implementation plan, submit a detailed report about any discussions or decisions at the annual meeting, make the report public, and execute a community benefit plan that addresses the needs of the community as discussed in the annual meeting to better understand the impact of the spending has on the health of Coloradans.
Under the bill, the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) would be required to hold stakeholder meetings to ensure low-income residents, people of color, people with disabilities, people with serious mental illness, and others experiencing disproportionate health outcomes are fairly represented in the hospital’s community benefit spending plan. HCPF would also create an annual report that summarizes the estimated federal and state tax exemptions of each reporting hospital, establish a minimum annual community investment requirement, and sets compliance requirements for hospitals. HCPF would be able to apply corrective action or fines for reporting hospitals that do not abide by the guidelines set by this bill. Additionally, the bill enhances existing public meeting requirements and ensures representation from the tribal council and Urban Indian Organization who have hospitals within their communities. Institutions of higher learning will also be represented to help bring meaningful input into discussions on spending.