GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) —
Senate Bill 252 and other legislation currently under consideration in Colorado’s last few weeks of the session aim to help control the prices of medical procedures by adding transparency, something community hospital CEO Chris Thomas is proud its hospital has done for more than a decade. He tells us, “We’ve had prices posted since 2010.”
the bill would require hospitals to post the prices of 300 common procedures which Thomas tells me are all included in the more than 12 thousand prices listed on Community’s website. But he also tells me hospital costs aren’t always that straightforward.
A 2020 study by the pioneer institute showed nearly a dozen states require some level of transparency. Colorado just worked on a different bill last year HB 1285 about this same issue. Mesa County’s State Senator Janice Rich told me she’s concerned it’s too much too soon for some hospitals. She said, “You’re not giving them an opportunity to see if what you did last year was even worth the work.”
Advocates for increased medical price transparency say the new bill will allow patients to make more informed decisions about procedures and compare what they cost from one location to another.
One of the biggest changes SB 252 would make would be an enforcement mechanism to compel hospitals to list prices. It would allow the Department of Health to fine noncompliant hospitals 10 thousand dollars for deceptive business practices. Proponents argue enforcement is key to making hospitals comply, but Thomas tells me those hefty fines, could be a problem for smaller hospitals.
The bill has passed in the Senate and is now in the House for consideration.