Colorado Democratic Reps. Emily Sirota and Andrew Boesenecker are backing the new House Bill 1215, which would prohibit hospitals to charge so-called facility fees. The fees are charged by hospital outpatient clinics to pay for costs like security, nurses and janitorial services, Colorado Politics reports. The bill aims to lower healthcare expenses and make receiving care more accessible.
However, critics of the bill claim that if voted into law, it would only increase wait times, drive doctors out of state and lead to more rural hospitals shutting down. There are currently over 500 rural hospitals at immediate risk of closure due to financial losses and lack of financial reserves to sustain operations, according to a report by the Center for Healthcare Quality and Price Reform. Colorado currently has seven rural hospitals at risk of being closed.
Colorado Politics reports that facility fees have increased due to outpatient services moving to an integrated care model, meaning that only the sickest end up in inpatient care.
The bill has been assigned to the House Health & Insurance Committee with a hearing date yet to be announced.
Mackenna Moralez is the associate editor for the facilities market.