YVMC: Hospital opposes Amendment 69
October 20, 2016
The current healthcare environment is unsettled, and we know a solution is needed. Yampa Valley Medical Center is committed to delivering the Triple Aim to our patients and the residents and visitors of the Yampa Valley by improving the health of individuals, improving the health of our community and improving the value of healthcare.
YVMC will work tirelessly to accomplish this goal and has already taken action by lowering MRI prices and is planning additional price reductions for other services, partnering with local, state and regional agencies and organizations to address the physical, mental and social needs of our community, and investing in capital improvements to ensure our facilities meet the needs of our patients.
The cost of care and insurance coverage, and lack of accessibility to care for some people remain significant concerns. Amendment 69, also known as ColoradoCare, is on the ballot this November. After careful review of the assessments completed by Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) and Colorado Health Institute (CHI), YVMC agrees with their conclusions and opposes Amendment 69.
ColoradoCare would threaten the sustainability of Colorado hospitals. Without private insurance subsidizing federal and state underpayments, hospital underpayment is likely to grow potentially impacting the services available at YVMC. Hospitals would be deeply impacted by ColoradoCare's payroll taxes of nearly $350 million per year.
ColoradoCare is inconsistent with CHA's prior positions on health reform which support a pluralistic payer system in the state. Healthcare reform has benefitted Colorado consumers by increasing access to healthcare services and benefitted hospitals by decreasing uncompensated care.
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ColoradoCare could eliminate the benefits of Colorado's Hospital Provider Fee (HPF), transferring all Colorado Medicaid funding to ColoradoCare and creating uncertainty with the HPF which funds healthcare coverage for over 400,000 low-income Coloradans. Without the HPF, Medicaid reimbursement rates would be closer to 54 cents of every dollar spent, instead of the 72 cents on the dollar received today.
ColoradoCare will jeopardize gains Colorado had made in healthcare reform, including expanded electronic medical records and telehealth, improved transparency in healthcare costs, efforts to pay for coverage for the uninsured and reduce cost growth for those privately-insured.
ColoradoCare would increase market risk and uncertainty. The to-be-elected board that would administer the healthcare system and the process to do so could be heavily influenced by politics and political motivation. The proposed system could end up costing more than the $25 billion estimated. All Colorado residents would be required to pay into the plan, regardless of if they have better insurance available to them (via Medicare, Veterans Administration benefits, etc.).
ColoradoCare doesn't address underlying cost problems in our healthcare system — it's only a refinancing mechanism. While the current system has challenges, ColoradoCare is not the right solution.
ColoradoCare could threaten quality of care. Individualized care plans could be jeopardized, and hospital underpayment could result in insufficient funding to keep facilities and technology updated.
If providers aren't reimbursed properly and are forced to work in outdated facilities with old equipment, recruitment of physicians and other providers may become difficult and talented professionals may leave Colorado for another state.
If ColoradoCare doesn't work, there is no contingency plan. The current plan would no longer exist. A new system would have to be created from scratch.
There are significant assumptions and unanswered questions surrounding Amendment 69 and how it will play out if passed. Our patients and healthcare providers deserve solid answers, not assumptions. YVMC is dedicated to finding local solutions to complicated healthcare issues.
YVMC opposes Amendment 69.
Yampa Valley Medical Center board of trustees
Yampa Valley Medical Center executive team
*”Information sourced from "Colorado Hospitals Oppose Amendment 69, Jan. 22, 2016."