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New Colorado Discounted Care Program

Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center Board of Directors heard an explanation of the new Colorado Discounted Care Program from Vice President of Finance Lesley Fagerberg on Tuesday.

Fagerberg explained the state program is complex for providers. It has more stringent parameters than the procedures now used by the district for uninsured patients and those who are unable to pay their bill for services.

The legislature passed the discounted care eligibility law (HB 21-1198) last year, but its implementation was delayed from June until Sept. 1.

Under the law’s provisions, low-income patients with gross household income at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level are entitled to apply for discounted health services, payment plans based on income level and other assistance, such as public health care coverage.

After patient screening for discounted care, the law restricts facility payments to no more than four percent of monthly income, and two percent of money income for professional provider bills. Fagerberg explained that after 36 months of payments, the bill is considered paid in full.

HRRMC CEO Bob Morasko commented on comparisons of the new law to how uninsured and low-income patient bills are handled currently saying,

“We’re probably going to write off 90 percent of these anyway.”

Healthcare facilities are now required to provide written information on discounted care to every patient seeking care.

For more information on the provisions of the law, residents can visit this Colorado site.

Hospital District Financial Report

Fagerberg’s report on the district financial picture to the board was described as “A good month.”

Patient service revenues were $22,383,612 for the month against the budget amount of $21,281,083. Inpatient revenue was at $2,146,071 while outpatient revenue totaled $20,237,541 (both above budget estimates).

For the eight months ending Aug. 31, net patient revenues totaled $77,268,237 with $4,668,766 in other revenues bringing total revenues year-to-date to $81,937,003. Total operating expenses were pegged at $75,548,971.

Net position increase was $8,428,726 compared with the budget estimate of $8,015,653.

New MRI and Other Capital Items

Elsewhere, it was reported that work on the new Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) unit for the hospital is scheduled to begin by year’s end. The board approved the purchase of a new MRI unit from Siemens Medical Solutions at the August board session. Cost was projected at $1,777,631.

At the Tuesday session, the board gave approval to other capital purchase requests, including a first-floor general surgery remodel project at a cost of $45,982; and purchases including an electrosurgical generator at a cost of $46,137; Stago compact max coagulation analyzer, $42,000; a walk-in refrigerator, freezer condenser and rooftop compressor at $26,784; a host unit for virtual infrastructure processor and memory capacity for in-house servers at $23,389 and a pulmonary function testing system at a cost of $68,312.

CEO Report

In his administrative report, CEO Bob Morasko said plans were advancing for an in-house wound center.

He also reported cost estimates have been received for planned employee housing and a hospitality house from a local contractor, with site plans for both (at the hospital and on two acres near the Highway 50 building), and with cost estimates perhaps ready for review by the Facilities Committee next month.

Efforts continue to find a radiologist to take the place of Dr. Daniel Wardrop, M.D., who is retiring in October. One candidate had second thoughts, Morasko stated and efforts are underway to find temporary coverage, recruit a permanent radiologist and establish teleradiology for nights, weekends, holidays, and when the on-site radiologist is not available.

Talks continue with Health One on collaborating on healthcare services in Fairplay. The South Park Board voted to work with HRRMC on taking over clinic operations, he said, with financial support from a recently-approved sales tax revenue.

Featured image: Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center, June 2022. Dan Smith photo.