Pulling Back the Veil on Hospital Costs

(March 23) – A bill by Rep. Chris Kennedy, D-Lakewood, to increase transparency about health care costs in Colorado’s hospitals passed the Health, Insurance & Environment Committee this afternoon with a 7-4 vote.

“I started this session hoping to identify some concrete steps we could take to address the growing cost of health care, but as I started to dig, I discovered how little we actually know about how our health care dollars are being spent,” said Rep. Kennedy. “This bill is designed to fill in some critical gaps in our data about hospital spending so that we can identify where we can make health care more affordable for Coloradans.”

HB17-1236 requires hospitals to send cost reports and their financial audits to the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF), which will then prepare an annual report of hospital expenditures, including inpatient and outpatient care, administrative and capital costs, and uncompensated care. HCPF would then submit the information to the General Assembly, the Governor and the Medical Services Board.

“This bill creates transparency for policymakers—if we’re to represent our constituents effectively, we need to know where their health care dollars are going,” added Rep. Kennedy.

Rep. Kennedy pointed out that while costs have grown in all sectors of our health care system, hospitals require this scrutiny because of their size. Furthermore, our rural hospitals are facing an uncertain future and this bill will help share best practices across hospitals in Colorado.

The bill continues to the House floor for consideration.

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