Leadership Statements

Statement on House Bills 1215 and 1243, 3-22-23

As physicians and health care leaders in Colorado, we write to alert our fellow Coloradans to serious threats to medical care, education, and research in our state.

With your support, the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus has become one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, attracting talent from around the world with a shared commitment to improving health. Here, patients access advanced care, scientists conduct breakthrough research, learners are trained to become outstanding caregivers, and innovative companies invest in our future.

On our campus:

  • The University of Colorado Cancer Center offers access to clinical trials and provides treatment outcomes that are among the best in the country.
  • Telehealth programs educate and consult with primary care practices across the state and directly serve patients in every Colorado county.
  • Hospitals specialize in caring for the sickest and most seriously injured adults and children, including more than 7,000 patients annually referred to us from other hospitals in Colorado.
  • Colorado’s most comprehensive transplant center operates and we offer the state’s most advanced cardiac, orthopedic, neurosurgical, and neurology services.
  • Exceptional educational programs, including the only MD degree program in the state, are nationally recognized for quality.

Two proposals in the state legislature threaten these achievements. We are concerned that if passed, they will significantly limit access to the best care, closest to home.

The first bill, HB23-1215, would prohibit clinics from covering the costs of paying their essential workers, including nurses, pharmacists, social workers, housekeeping, and others. It gives government officials the power to decide where patients get medical care. The Colorado Hospital Association estimates that most hospitals would be unable to pay their bills and hundreds of clinics would close. Layoffs would be inevitable.

A second bill, HB23-1243, would prohibit hospitals from counting support for research, education, and training as a community benefit. This restriction will curtail funding that supports our programs and would have an immediate and lasting negative impact on the state.

For example, our research programs - the foundation of new treatments, therapies and clinical trials - would have to shrink. The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that the average medical school invests an additional fifty-three cents for each dollar of sponsored research. For our campus, we invest more than $300 million each year to support these programs. To do that we rely on vital support from our campus partners.

The investment in training resident physicians is another vital contribution to Colorado. Studies show that most physicians practice in communities where they complete residency training. We are addressing the shortage of physicians by having robust training programs.

Every Coloradan will feel the impact if these bills pass. People without insurance, and people who depend on Medicaid and Medicare, will lose access to care. Mental health and addiction care resources will be cut. Clinical trials will decrease. Staff cuts will result from lost grant funding. Training programs for health professionals will shrink. Hiring and retaining health care professionals and scientific talent will suffer. Patients with complex medical problems will need to travel to other states for care.

We ask lawmakers to oppose these harmful measures.

Donald M. Elliman, Jr., Chancellor

John J. Reilly, Jr., MD, Dean, School of Medicine

Clinical Department Chairs, School of Medicine

Venu Akuthota, MD, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Evalina Burger, MD, Orthopedics
Vineet Chopra, MD, MSc, Medicine
Stephen Daniels, MD, PhD, Pediatrics
Gerald Dodd, MD, Radiology
C. Neill Epperson, MD, Psychiatry
Brian Kavanagh, MD, MPH, Radiation Oncology
Todd Kingdom, MD, Otolaryngology
Kevin Lillehei, MD, Neurosurgery
Naresh Mandava, MD, Ophthalmology
Myra Muramoto, MD, MPH, Family Medicine
David Norris, MD, Dermatology
Nanette Santoro, MD, OB-GYN
Richard Schulick, MD, MBA, Surgery
Ann Thor, MD, Pathology
Vesna Todorovic, MD, PhD, MBA, Anesthesiology
Ken Tyler, MD, Neurology
Richard Zane, MD, Emergency Medicine

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