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Colorado Bill Would Protect Patients from Medical Mergers that Limit Access and Care

A bill that would prevent hospital mergers from compromising patient care received approval by the Colorado House and Senate and will now be considered by Gov. Bill Ritter.

If passed, the bill would clarify the Colorado attorney general’s authority to include conducting hearings and reviewing proposed mergers for negative impacts to patient care.

The legislation comes in light of a pending deal between the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, a Catholic entity, and the nonsectarian Exempla Healthcare System. Colorado Attorney General John Suthers declined to prohibit the transaction on the grounds that he had no legal basis. Opponents of the deal complained it would force patients to seek hospitals outside Jefferson County for certain reproductive and end-of-life treatment.

“We have had hospitals merging at a cancerous rate in Colorado, at some times approaching monopolies,” said Rep. Morgan Carroll, the bill’s House sponsor. “I cannot think of a more dangerous place for monopolies than in health care. At a time when we are trying to increase access and improve quality of care, it is exactly the wrong time to eliminate access to key services.”
Read the Denver Business Journal article