Candice Allen, Rio Grande Hospital, discussed the difficulty residents of the SLV have finding transportation to get to scheduled health care appointments. She also discussed the benefit her community has realized as a result of the secure transportation pilot program created in SB 17-207. This pilot program expanded the Colorado Crisis System by providing funding for communities to train drivers to transport people in mental health crisis to a mental health center or designated facility. Ms. Allen pointed out that rural health care is about collaboration and using the resources within the community. She discussed the need for housing in the SLV and suggested that many people who are homeless travel from home to home and sleep on couches.
Ms. Allen discussed the implementation of the Colorado ALTO Project and the Colorado CURE Initiative, which are Colorado Hospital Association initiatives. These initiatives focus on reducing the administration of opioids in emergency rooms and developing guidelines targeted toward limiting opioid use, using alternatives to opioids for the treatment of pain, implementing harm reduction strategies, and improving the treatment and referral of patients with Opioid Use Disorder. She expressed her desire that the state continue to fund programs important to hospitals in the SLV and to pay attention to the unintended consequences of legislation that may negatively impact rural hospitals.
Committee discussion followed about legislation focusing on larger hospitals with higher profit margins and the cost drivers in these hospitals.