St. Mary’s opposes bill aiming to limit facility fees
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - St. Mary’s has joined the fight against HB23-1215.
House Bill 1215, sponsored by four Democrats, is aimed at lowering the cost of facility fees at health care facilities.
The Colorado Hospital Association has already openly opposed the bill, and said it would limit patient care.
Brian Johnson, the president of St. Mary’s Hospital, testified at the state capitol today in opposition of the bill.
“I’m grateful I had the opportunity to testify today in opposition to House Bill 1215, to express our concerns about what this does, for these outpatient hospital departments that we’ve created,” Johnson said.
If the bill passes, Johnson said patients on charity care and on Medicaid are put at a disadvantage due to the inability to provide care for them.
“[St. Mary’s] departments are ones that typically have a very high usage of patients in charity care, or with Medicaid, some as high as 70 percent,” Johnson said. “To not have that facility fee would probably make them unsustainable, we wouldn’t be able to provide that access to our patients.”
Johnson said facility fees are used for things such as paying for nursing staff, maintaining workspaces, and building maintenance. Without these fees, Johnson said people on the Western Slope face the difficult choice of seeking care elsewhere.
“This bill really does impact us very significantly, and probably disproportionately more than it would for facilities on the front range,” Johnson said.
Some of the facilities unique to the Western Slope include pediatric care and outreach clinics in rural areas.
The bill is still under consideration.
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