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Colorado Passes Bill to Increase Hospital Finance Reporting

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed a law (H.B. 19-1001) requiring the state’s hospitals to make more of their financial information publicly available.

The legislation aims to enable state policymakers to differentiate between hospitals across the state, adopt policies to lower health care costs, and track whether savings from these efforts are passed on to consumers.

The recently signed legislation requires the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, in consultation with the state’s Healthcare Affordability and Sustainability Enterprise Board, to develop and prepare an annual report on uncompensated hospital costs and expenditures by hospitals in the state. For the report, the department will use publicly available data sources when possible, in addition to certain information the state will require each hospital to provide, such as inpatient and outpatient statistics; bad debt and charity write-offs; operating expenses; balance sheets; staffing information; transaction prices of acquired hospitals; and more.

Each hospital in the report will have 15 days to review the text and submit feedback to the department before the report is released. The department also must provide information received from hospitals in developing the report to the statewide hospital association.

The bill will take effect 90 days after the state’s 2019 legislative session ends, unless a referendum petition is filed against any portion of it; in the case of a referendum petition, voters will have to approve the legislation in the November 2020 general election.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Kelcie Jimenez is a state policy analyst at America's Essential Hospitals.

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