Cara Welch, Colorado Hospital Association
300 Rural, Business, Health Care and GOP Leaders Urge Legislature for Action on Hospital Provider Fee in Separate Fund
Date March 23, 2017
GREENWOOD VILLAGE, COLO. – Three hundred rural advocates, business leaders, healthcare providers and local Republican leaders signed a letter to the Colorado General Assembly urging it to pass legislation placing the Hospital Provider Fee (HPF) in a separate fund, arguing the state’s fiscally conservative Attorney General has already said the approach is authorized by the Taxpayers Bill of Rights and that failure to enact the measure will “hit rural communities and rural hospitals disproportionately hard.”
Key excerpts from the letter:
“Colorado’s Republican Attorney General – herself a staunch fiscal conservative and strong supporter of TABOR – wrote an extensive legal memorandum last year affirming that HPF enterprise legislation was specifically contemplated and authorized by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.”
“We have fundamental infrastructure needs in rural Colorado that left unaddressed will be severely damaging to rural economies. Cutting essential transportation projects or underfunding rural hospitals that serve as the backstop for rural healthcare needs will be detrimental to economic growth and impede the ability for rural economies to rebound from many of their current struggles.”
"It’s critical to note that many opponents of the original HPF legislation support enterprising the HPF now. That’s because the original legislation, which comingled the HPF with other general fund spending, had the unintended consequence of crowding-out dollars for other core priorities, in particular roads. Supporting legislation that enterprises HPF is not an endorsement of the original bill, but rather a pragmatic step to cure these unintended consequences.”
"Failure to enact HPF enterprising legislation will hit rural communities and rural hospitals exceedingly and disproportionately hard.”
“As if the adverse impact on hospitals was not enough of a blow to rural communities, inaction on HPF will hit rural areas hard in other ways too. Many essential rural transportation projects from all corners of the state will see their funding slashed.”
The full letter is available here
Among the signers are: Republican Fremont County Commissioners Debbie Bell, Tim Payne and Dwayne McFall, Club 20 Executive Director Christian Reece, Alamosa County Commissioner Hellen Sigmond, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, Florence Mayor Keith Ore, every member of the Florence City Council, Haxtun Hospital CEO Larry Schrage, Aurora City Councilman Charlie Richardson, Colorado Mesa University President Tim Foster, Cañon City RE-1 District Superintendent of Schools George Welsh, Adams State University President Beverlee McClure, Former Mayor of Centennial Randy Pye, Pueblo District 70 Superintendent of Schools Charlie Smith, Colorado Business Roundtable President Jeff Wasden, former Loveland State Representative BJ Nikkel, Fruita Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Frank Ladd, former Arapahoe County Commissioner John Brackney, dozens of doctors from San Luis Valley Health and Pueblo’s Parkview Medical Center, as well as individuals (signing for themselves) who serve on the executive committees of the Lincoln County GOP and Weld County GOP.
Signers are overwhelmingly from rural Colorado, including Cañon City, Grand Junction, Haxtun, Alamosa, Hugo, Pueblo, Fruita, Loveland, Centennial, and Fort Collins.
Last year, dozens of the state’s largest business and rural advocacy groups, including Club 20, Progressive 15, Action 22, the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Wheat Growers Association, Colorado Association of REALTORS, League of Charter Schools, Colorado Springs Forward, Denver South Economic Development Partnership, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Northern Colorado Water Conservation District, the Colorado Rural Health Center and many others, urged the legislature to enterprise HPF.
Kevin Stansbury, the CEO of Lincoln Community Hospital in Hugo, a 15-bed hospital and the largest employer in that county, said the massive coalition supporting HPF enterprise legislation last year and now this year should give the legislature the final push it needs.
Stansbury said: “There is growing consensus among Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and House that doing nothing would have broad and devastating impacts on very basic hospital, road and education programs, especially in rural Colorado. Enterprising the HPF is specifically authorized by TABOR, and it is mission critical for rural Colorado.”
About the Colorado Hospital Association
The Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) is the leading voice of Colorado’s hospital and health system community. Representing more than 100 member hospitals and health systems throughout the state, CHA serves as a trusted, credible and reliable resource on health issues, hospital data and trends for its members, media, policymakers and the general public. Through CHA, Colorado’s hospitals and health systems work together in their shared commitment to improve health and health care in Colorado.
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