David Olinger, The Denver Post

A Colorado House committee passed around an eye-opening document Thursday night as it debated a developing health care issue.

It was a medical bill, sent to a 31-year-old man who had been diagnosed and treated for sinusitis at a free-standing emergency room.

His treatment cost $11,251, including a $6,200 fee for using the facility and $3,200 for a CT scan.

Caitlin Westerson, a representative of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, presented the medical bill to the House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee as an example of what can happen when a patient unwittingly walks into an emergency room resembling a clinic.

In a 7-6 vote, the committee approved a bill sponsored by Rep. Beth McCann, D-Denver, to notify patients that these ERs differ from urgent care.

Stand-alone ERs have been spreading rapidly in affluent suburban Colorado neighborhoods, often in shopping malls conveniently close to home. The Denver Post exposed problems with the trend in a series of stories last year.

Read the full article and view the video here.

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