Last Thursday Gov. Jared Polis rolled out his plan to address the high costs of healthcare in Colorado releasing a roadmap to saving people money on health care.
The Office of Saving People Money On Health Care, led by Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera, will work to implement the roadmap to reduce costs of healthcare through policy making, data collection, and more oversight.
For example, Gov. Polis signed the Hospital Transparency bill into law last week. The new law requires the Department of Healthcare Policy and Finance (HCPF) to develop a hospital expenditure report to best determine how to reduce costs.
In addition, the roadmap aims to find ways to increase the affordability of healthcare for all payer types through a collaboration of state departments dedicated to “oversight, delivery, management, and financing.”
A recent cost-shift analysis performed by HCPF identified at least some some of the causes of Colorado’s high healthcare costs. The report found that hospitals across the state have consistently raised prices on privately insured patients to maintain inflated profits.
“This report identifies rapid cost growth as a major contributing factor to the cost shift. Hospitals could have passed on significant savings to commercial consumers had they matched national cost benchmarks using Medicare Cost Reports suggesting as much as 8.3% in cost savings or $7.9 billion from 2009-2017.”Colorado Dept. of Health Care Policy & Financing, Cost Shift Analysis report, Jan. 2019
The analysis also states “there is further opportunity for each community to have more influence on hospital business decisions such as new construction or physician/hospital acquisition, which impact health care costs in their community.”
Adam Fox, Director of Strategic Engagement for Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI), says community involvement in hospital spending would better address the real needs of a community.
“That’s something CCHI has been very interested in and we’d like to see clearer transparency and oversight of community health needs assessments and the community benefits hospitals provide,” said Fox.
In conclusion, efforts to reduce healthcare costs in Colorado are focused on determining the real health needs of communities and increasing the transparency of hospital finances and operations.