Dear students, faculty and staff,
During this year’s legislative session, the Colorado General Assembly considered two bills with significant potential impacts to our academic medical campus and hospital partners ‒ House Bills 1215 and 1243.
Earlier this spring, School of Medicine Dean John Reilly, MD, our clinical department chairs and I issued a statement urging our lawmakers to oppose these harmful measures that, in their original drafts, would have deeply affected the financial stability of our campus and our ability to deliver on all areas of our vital mission.
I write today to update you on these bills, amended versions of which have been sent to Governor Polis for his signature and final approval. With the education and advocacy efforts of our leadership and many in our community, both were amended so as to address our primary concerns and mitigate what could have been deleterious impacts to our campus.
House Bill 23-1215 called for limits to facility fees, which cover indispensable costs of healthcare delivery including staff compensation, facilities and equipment, and other foundational expenditures. Throughout the legislative session, the bill was amended to remove proposed limits to telehealth and primary care, and to refocus language around preventive care to limit out-of-pocket patient costs. The bill has been amended to include a report that will examine the impact of facility fees across Colorado. We are hopeful the legislature will continue to consider the integral role of these fees in our ability to provide high-quality, patient-centered care to Coloradans in every county of our state.
House Bill 23-1243 concerned “community benefit” spending by our hospital partners, and as originally drafted would have set stricter limits on what could be considered under this umbrella. In addition to tens of millions of dollars worth of community care delivered at no cost annually, our hospital partners provide valuable support each year to drive innovation in research and bolster education and training programs at CU Anschutz. We were heartened by the amendments offered through the legislative process to reflect the tremendous value of community benefit funding for our campus, our state and all those we serve.
Our academic medical campus was built to serve the people of Colorado, and what we have created here is a truly special place. Our mission areas are intertwined and interdependent, and impacts to one area are impacts to all. It is with the support of our hospital partners that we are able to deliver on our noble mission, and we are thankful that these measures as passed will have limited impacts on our continued ability to do so.
Our gratitude goes to the bill sponsors, the CU Office of Government Relations, and all who have helped pave the way to these outcomes. Thank you for all you do every day to help advance our mission.