Legislative Session Ends with Hospital Provider Fee Reclassified

In a measure of bipartisanship, the first regular session of the seventy-first Colorado General Assembly closed with the passage in both chambers of an omnibus funding/redistribution bill, “Concerning the Sustainability of Rural Colorado”, SB17-267.   The wide-sweeping legislation gives money to rural schools, and infrastructure repairs.  It increases the marijuana sales tax rate to the maximum allowed by law of 15 percent and increases prescription Medicaid co-pays from $1.25 to $2.50.  It gives the state authority to execute lease-purchase agreements for designated state facilities to generate up to $1.3 billion of net proceeds.

Of particular importance to rural Colorado hospitals, the bill reclassifies the hospital provider fee as an enterprise zone, thus sustaining that revenue source which supports hospitals that serve a higher number of uninsured and Medicaid patients across the state.  Rural hospitals often fall into the critical-access hospital designation.   The existing hospital provider fee oversight and advisory board is abolished, effective July 1, 2017.  In its place, the legislation creates a new administrative agency to oversee the new enterprise zone, Colorado Healthcare Affordability and Sustainability Enterprise  (CHASE).

Read an overview of the session in The Denver Post.

Read SB17-267.

Read more in Alamosa’s Valley Courier.

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