New Colorado bill could eliminate hospital facility fees

Published: Feb. 24, 2023 at 2:27 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - A proposed bill might cut down on facility fees in Colorado, and proponents say the goal is making health care more financially feasible to get. However, opponents of the bill say that it could be the final straw for an already overworked and understaffed medical system.

Isabel Cruz with the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative said that as more hospitals and clinics consolidate under larger health organizations more people are getting billed for facilities. “We also know that affordability and the fear of being able to pay for your medical care is an access issue,” said Cruz.

Cruz is working on a bill to change that. “Under this bill, my primary care provider affiliated with the hospital would not be able to charge me for a facility fee for that care. But if I was going to a freestanding emergency department seeking emergency care, they would be able to charge a facility fee,” said Cruz.

The bill would also require itemized bills, no facility fees for telehealth, and notices that a person is getting care in a place that can charge these fees in English and Spanish.

However, opponents of the bill say that hospitals just aren’t making enough money to handle cuts like that. Advocates argue that large hospital systems have a better cushion, but UCHealth and the Hospital Association say that conditions have changed and their financial outlook is not good. “We’re talking about what could be 100 or 150 clinics just for UCHealth that are at risk from this bill,” said Dan Weaver of UCHealth.

Weaver said many of those clinics join the hospital system because it makes financial sense and comes with a lot of perks, like access to technology and IT services.