Parkview Facility Fee and House Bill 23-1215
Healthcare spending is complex and often confusing. But we can all understand the desire to reduce costs without sacrificing services or access to quality care.
Unfortunately, a misguided bill currently making its way through the Colorado State Legislature will do the exact opposite: reduce access to care, shut down outpatient clinics, lay off health care workers, and increase health care costs and the cost of insurance for all of us. .
If successful, Bill 23-1215 would jeopardize vital outpatient services provided at various locations in the Parkview Health System by eliminating “facility fees” used to pay dedicated staff members who care for patients.
Although facility fees are not new, they are often misunderstood and arguably misnamed. They should probably be called “patient care fees” or “people fees” because they have almost nothing to do with a physical facility and almost everything to do with the care patients receive in a health care setting. ambulatory health. While professional fees cover the cost of doctors and medical assistants, facility fees cover everyone needed to run these services: from nurses to lab and x-ray technicians, parking lot attendants, safety and pharmacy staff. Facility fees pay for people who care for people.
Facility fees are not the same as “surprise bills” and have been subject to strict transparency standards by state and federal governments since their introduction in 2013. The fee is charged when a hospital has an outpatient department but may or may not employ the doctors I work there. This can include anything from radiology centers to cancer centers, surgery centers, or similar facilities.
These are not easy times for many hospitals, especially in Pueblo and rural areas. More than half of the state’s hospitals are currently operating at unsustainable financial margins, even with these fees.
Eliminating facility fees will slash an additional $9 billion a year from the budgets of hospital-owned outpatient departments and clinics across the state and threaten the financial viability of 96% of Colorado hospitals — with exponential impacts passed on to low-income residents, the elderly, underserved populations and rural communities. It will also drastically reduce care options for those with Medicare and Medicaid coverage, just as it will shift all patients away from the convenient, integrated, and preventative care they currently receive and toward more expensive hospital and emergency treatment. , further from home and with significantly longer waiting times.
The goal of health care is to keep patients healthy. Providing preventative care in accessible outpatient departments has helped Colorado reduce health care costs while doing this. Colorado currently ranks among the top three states with the lowest percentage of household income spent on hospital care, as well as avoidable hospital utilization and costs. The loss of access to ambulatory care services and providers resulting from HB-1215 will increase emergency room visits and increase health care costs for all.
We’ve learned during the coronavirus pandemic how quickly our hospitals and ERs can become overwhelmed, and we’re still recovering from staffing shortages due to the burnout and burnout that followed. But we were there for the community then, and we need to keep investing in our workforce to make sure we’re there in the future.
HB23-1215 only undermines that investment and therefore your health care and our community. It promises tens of thousands of job losses, forces hundreds of outpatient departments to close, and undermines the model of integrated care that patients want, the legislature supports, and the entire state benefits from. In short, HB23-1215 is a disaster for health care in Colorado.
The accounting here isn’t complicated: Colorado Health Care just can’t afford HB23-1215. I urge you to contact your local representatives in the state legislature today and ask them to vote no on this bill.
Leslie Barnes is President and CEO of Parkview Health System
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