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Why Colorado’s ongoing fight against high hospital prices is now a lot more complicated

State health officials want large hospital systems to reduce their prices and profits

John Ingold
The Colorado Sun
The sign stands outside UCHealth University of Colorado hospital Friday, April 1, 2022, in Aurora, Colo. The balance sheets of the state’s largest hospital systems — such as UCHealth, Centura, Banner, HealthONE and SCL Health — didn’t end up suffering greatly during the pandemic, despite the staffing challenges and disruptions to lucrative elective surgeries.
David Zalubowski/AP

Colorado’s top health officials think the prices charged by large hospital systems in the state are too high.

This is not exactly news; Kim Bimestefer, the executive director of the state’s Medicaid department, has been making this argument for years. But a new report and new comments made by Bimestefer during a virtual policy summit in recent weeks show the state is preparing to relaunch its fight against hospital prices, after the battle largely fell silent during the COVID pandemic.

“We still have got a lot of work to do,” Bimestefer said.



The report, released late last month, found that Colorado hospitals have some of the highest prices and profits in the country. In 2020, according to the report, the price per patient in Colorado hospitals ranked sixth highest in the nation, while the profit per patient ranked seventh. Total profit was sixth highest, while the cost per patient — a measure of efficiency, reflecting hospitals’ underlying expenses to actually provide care — was the nation’s 10th highest.

“Colorado is one of only two states (along with Alaska) that ranks in the top 10 for all four measures of hospital cost, price and profit, making us one of the most expensive states for hospital care,” the report, produced by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, states.



Read more via The Colorado Sun.


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