5 Questions You Should Be Asking About the Hospital Provider Fee (Plus Answers!)
A very hot topic at the Capitol this legislative session (yet again) is the Hospital Provider Fee (HPF). While this term may be unfamiliar to most people, many of you have been interacting with the fee since its creation in 2009.
The Hospital Provider Fee, assessed on Colorado hospitals, is matched dollar-for-dollar by the federal government. This funding has lowered the cost of healthcare for every Coloradan as the funding is used to cover the cost of unreimbursed care. In many rural areas of Colorado, the HPF has ensured affordable access to healthcare where none previously existed.
This topic has been highly politicized in the past few months by interests on either side of the aisle. But no matter what side of the aisle you’re on, healthcare issues affect us all. Based on input and support from our Policy and Legislative Committee and board approval, CRHC has come out in strong support of the fee’s conversion to an enterprise fund and efforts to adjust how the TABOR cap is calculated.
CRHC’s role at the Capitol is to represent our members, the facilities they maintain, and the communities they support. That’s why we want to provide our members with a toolkit for understanding, discussing and advocating for the Hospital Provider Fee.
- What is the Hospital Provider Fee? What does it mean and how does it work?
- This short informational video provided by the Denver Post is your first step in understanding the basic mechanics of the provider fee. A more in-depth written description of the fee and its history can be found here.
- How does the Hospital Provider affect my facility? What would a reduction in the fee mean for the financial viability of my facility?
- Probably more than you think. Check out this Tableau resource featuring a list of all facilities in Colorado that have paid into the fee and what their matching funds have been. It also features a map that illustrates which regions of the state most impacted by the fee.
- There has been a lot of political discussion about the constitutionality of the bill, is the conversion legal?
- Many politically-motivated legal opinions about the constitutionality have been swirling around the media over recent months. Luckily, last year Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman released her formal opinion on the issue and argued that the program would meet requirements to qualify as an enterprise fund. The unexpected break from her Republican allies has seemingly opened the doors for legislative measures to address the fee.
- What are other rural Coloradans saying about this?
- In short, plenty! Here are a few editorials from the last legislative session featuring rural health providers and advocates from around the state.
- GUEST COLUMN: Establish a hospital provider fee enterprise, featuring Konnie Martin at San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center.
- Because we care, the official editorial board statement of support from the Pueblo Chieftain.
- Provider Fee, the official editorial board statement of support from the Durango Herald.
- How can I help?
- A bill to convert the fee to an enterprise fund was introduced again this year using the same language as last year. In addition, a bill to adjust how the TABOR cap is calculated was introduced in the House last week. CRHC has taken a formal Support position with both pieces of legislation. We will work hard to support the passage of the bill, and keep our members up to date on the status of the bill and opportunities to participate via action alerts, letters, testimony, etc. If you would like to get a head start, reach out to your elected officials, via a phone call, letter, or even an op-ed written in your local newspaper. Remember, CRHC is here to help you with any of these items; all you have to do is ask! We can help you draft letters and op-eds, facilitate meetings with your elected officials, or just to learn more about a policy or topic. Contact our Policy Coordinator Kelly Erb for any support.