Casey Leins, US News and World Report

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill Thursday requiring hospitals to report their spending annually, in a move to increase transparency and lower health care costs.

Hospitals will have to provide reports, which will be made public, showing both what they are charging customers and what they are spending that money on, The Denver Post reported. Lawmakers can then use that data to guide policy decisions.

The law, which will take effect in 2020, will require hospitals to submit data regarding payrolls, inpatient, outpatient and emergency visits and capital expenditures, according to The News and Observer.

“This is not price transparency; it’s not going to help consumers know what they’re going to spend at a particular hospital,” Adam Fox, director of strategic engagement for the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative told the Post.

“But it will help provide a clear picture of how hospitals are spending their resources and what kinds of care they’re really providing for the dollars we’re paying them,” Fox added.

The law is part of Polis’ larger health care agenda, which also includes developing a state reinsurance program to help private insurers.

“We can’t work on reducing costs if we don’t see how these costs are determined in the first place, or what they are,” Polis said at a signing ceremony for the bill. “Otherwise, we’re just shooting in the dark with efforts to reduce costs unfair to both hospitals and to consumers.” 

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