No later than June 1, 2022, a health-care facility shall screen each uninsured patient for eligibility for public health insurance programs, discounted care through the Colorado indigent care program (CICP), and discounted care as described in the bill. Health-care facilities shall use a single uniform application developed by the department of health care policy and financing (department) when screening a patient. If a health-care facility determines a patient is ineligible for discounted care, the facility shall provide the patient notice of the determination and an opportunity for the patient to appeal the determination.
For emergency and other non-CICP health-care services provided to qualified patients, a health-care facility and licensed health-care professional shall limit the amounts charged to not more than 80% of the medicare rate if the patient is uninsured; collect amounts charged in monthly installments such that a patient is not paying more than 5% of the patient's household income; and after a cumulative 36 months of payments, consider the patient's bill paid in full and permanently cease any and all collection activities on any balance that remains unpaid.
A health-care facility shall make information about patient's rights and the uniform application for discounted care available to the public and to each patient.
Beginning June 1, 2023, and each June 1 thereafter, each health-care facility shall collect and report to the department data that the department determines is necessary to evaluate compliance across patient groups based on race, ethnicity, and primary language spoken with the required screening, discounted care, payment plan, and collections practices.
No later than April 1, 2022, the department shall develop a written explanation of a patient's rights, make the explanation available to the public and each patient, and establish a process for patients to submit a complaint relating to noncompliance with the requirements. The department shall periodically review health-care facilities and licensed health-care professionals (hospital providers) to ensure compliance, and the department shall notify the hospital provider if the hospital provider is not in compliance that the hospital provider has 90 days to file a corrective action plan with the department. A hospital provider may request up to 120 days to submit a corrective action plan. The department may require a hospital provider that is not in compliance to develop and operate under a corrective action plan until the department determines the hospital provider is in compliance. The bill implements fines for hospital providers if the department determines the hospital provider's noncompliance is knowing or willful.
The bill imposes requirements on hospital providers before assigning or selling patient debt to a medical creditor or before pursuing any permissible extraordinary collection action and imposes fines for any hospital provider that fails to comply with the requirements.
The bill prohibits a medical creditor from using impermissible extraordinary collection action to collect debts owed for health-care services provided by a hospital provider. A medical creditor may engage in permissible extraordinary collection actions 180 days after the first bill for a medical debt is sent to the patient. At least 30 days before taking any permissible extraordinary collection action, a medical creditor shall provide the patient with a notice about the discounted care policy, the permissible extraordinary collection actions that will be initiated, and a deadline after which such permissible extraordinary collection actions will be initiated. If a patient is later found eligible for discounted care, the medical creditor shall reverse any permissible extraordinary collection actions.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)