DENVER, CO - The House Public & Behavioral Health & Human Services Committee today passed legislation to bolster community-based health care services across the state. It passed by a vote of 8-3.
“Hospitals can claim state non-profit status, which exempts them from state sales and property taxes, but in return, they must allocate time and money on programs that benefit the community,” said Rep. Judy Amabile, D-Boulder. “This legislation provides some parameters for how that money can be spent to increase access to the services communities need, improve community input in the process, and lower the cost of care. By strengthening guidelines for hospitals’ community benefit spending, Coloradans will receive health care services that better fit the needs of their communities.”
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, and others 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.