SB18-146 (Kefalas & Smallwood/Sias & Singer) Freestanding Emergency Departments Required Consumer Notices
The bill would require a freestanding emergency department, which are either independent from a hospital or operated by a hospital at a location off the hospital’s main campus, to (i) provide any individual that enters the facility seeking treatment with a written statement of the nature of the facility and the individual’s rights at the facility, (ii) post a sign with information about the networks the facility participates in and the cost of common services provided at the facility, and (iii) provide any individual who does not have an emergency medical condition with additional written disclosures regarding the individual’s financial responsibility for services provided.
The Children’s Campaign supports this bill. Providing this information to individuals who enter a freestanding emergency department will help protect patients from incurring surprisingly high costs for health care services. Colorado is the state with the third-highest number of freestanding emergency departments, most of which are located in higher-income suburban areas relatively close to urgent care centers or traditional emergency departments. Coloradans tend to use freestanding emergency departments for non-life threatening conditions similar to those conditions for which they also seek care at urgent care facilities, but can be charged much more for these services at a freestanding emergency department. For example, receiving care for bronchitis at a freestanding emergency department can cost nearly $1,000, 10 times more than at an urgent care facility. Currently Colorado has only very limited requirements around the establishment of these facilities and has largely been unsuccessful at ensuring that they are being used to increase access to care in rural areas.
The bill passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on a bipartisan vote of 4-1 and now heads to the Senate Finance Committee.
February 2, 2018
Assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, where it will be heard on Wednesday, Feb. 14 upon adjournment in Room 354
February 9, 2018
Assigned to the Senate Finance Committee, where it will be heard on Feb. 13 at 2:00pm in Room 357. Leslie Colwell, Vice President of Education Initiatives, will testify in support.