Sheri Trahern, St. Thomas More CEO, Honored as Colorado Hospital Association Grassroots Champion

Sheri Trahern, CEO and chief administrative officer, St. Thomas More Hospital (Cañon City), was honored by the Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) with the American Hospital Association (AHA) 2017 Grassroots Champion award. Each year, AHA partners with the state hospital associations to recognize the achievements of grassroots leaders who effectively deliver the hospital message to elected officials; help broaden the base of community support for hospitals; and advocate tirelessly on behalf of patients, hospitals and communities.

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Colorado Hospital Association Launches Emergency Department Opioid Safety Pilot in Eight Colorado Hospitals

Today, the Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) launched an opioid safety pilot in eight Colorado hospitals and three freestanding emergency departments (FSEDs). This initiative will be one of the largest opioid quality improvement projects in the United States. Colorado is at the center of the U.S. opioid epidemic with the 12th highest rate of misuse and abuse of prescription opioids across all 50 states. Colorado hospitals, especially the emergency departments (EDs), are in a strong position to reduce opioid administration. CHA is committed to improving the quality of care and the safety of patients in hospitals and health systems across the state.

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Colorado Hospital Association Responds to Hospital Provider Fee Enterprise Vote

Senate Bill 17-267, which just passed the Colorado General Assembly, means that the Hospital Provider Fee will no longer count against the TABOR cap in the state budget and can be fully funded in order to provide hospitals the funding necessary to care for Colorado’s most vulnerable patients. By separating this money from the general fund, Colorado hospitals will have stability and reliability in funding that wasn’t possible as the state balanced its budget each year. This will allow hospitals to return to longer-term strategic planning for the health and health care in their communities. This is crucial as hospitals face uncertain times due to changes in funding for health care at the federal level.

“We are extremely grateful for Sens. Jerry Sonnenberg and Lucia Guzman and Reps. KC Becker and Jon Becker and to Governor John Hickenlooper for their leadership on this issue and for understanding what was at stake for rural communities and specifically for hospitals in this year’s state budget,” said Steven Summer, CHA president and CEO. “Their ability to bridge the partisan divide and put the people of Colorado first should be a model for the future and the nation. This is a good day for the health of all Coloradans.”

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State Budget Cuts Put Colorado Hospitals at Risk

This year’s state budget legislation proposed a $528 million reduction to the Hospital Provider Fee (HPF), a fee paid by hospitals that allows the state to draw down federal matching funds for Medicaid. The HPF funds are used to support coverage for more than 480,000 Coloradans and increase reimbursements for hospitals, reducing health care costs for all Coloradans. The proposed reduction to the HPF in this year’s budget is $264 million, which doubles to $528 million with the federal match, will immediately jeopardize the future of as many as a dozen Colorado hospitals. In addition to potential closures, many hospitals in the state will have to consider layoffs, service line closures and delaying facility upgrades or service additions.

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Top GOP Pollster: Colorado Voters Broadly Support Legislation Placing Hospital Provider Fee in Enterprise Fund

A survey by one of the nation’s top Republican pollsters found broad support across Colorado, including among likely Republican voters, for legislation that would place the Hospital Provider Fee (HPF) in an enterprise fund, thereby exempting the legislation from TABOR spending limits. By a 64 percent to 28 percent margin, voters in Colorado said they believe the legislature should enact a HPF enterprise law. By a 51 percent to 39 percent margin, likely Republican voters support placing HPF in a separate fund outside of TABOR spending limits.

“Moving the HPF to a separate fund is a legislative step that will protect hospitals from losing nearly half a billion dollars in funding this year,” said Steven Summer, president and CEO, Colorado Hospital Association. “Especially in rural Colorado, hospitals serve as the lifeblood of their communities, and a cut of that magnitude would be devastating. We urge legislators to support Senate Bill 17-267, which will address this issue and protect Colorado’s rural hospitals and communities.”

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