Nurses React to Consequences

Melissa Shields, Oncology Registered Nurse, Sky Ridge Medical Center in Douglas County:

“The reimbursement constraints in this bill would force healthcare providers and hospitals to accept payments that do not cover the costs of care. They will face pressure to cut services or close their doors, effectively cutting off access to healthcare to those who need it most – our patients… Like you, I want everyone to have affordable health insurance and access to high-quality care. But, doctors, nurses and hospitals did not cause these problems. So, they should not be punished. The State Option is well- intended, but it is the wrong way to go.”

April Christensen, Executive Director, Coalition of Hematology and Oncology Practices in Fort Collins:

Particularly for community-based oncology clinics in rural communities throughout Colorado, a government-run health care insurance system could undermine access to life-saving medicines and more… In rural Colorado, small clinics — like most small businesses in rural Colorado — operate on a razor-thin financial margin. These providers would be hard pressed to survive the increased taxes, decreased reimbursement and the guaranteed expansion of expensive federal regulatory red tape.

Will Bertram, Registered Nurse:

“Poor reimbursement for the care we provide will directly impact the personnel who provide the care and the quality of care we are able to provide. We will not be able to sustain current staffing levels and will lose qualified professionals to other states with better reimbursement. We will not be able to purchase or maintain the technology that our patients deserve. In the end, the quality of care will decline, outcomes will decline, and our ability to practice the best medicine will be drastically interrupted.”

Pamela Assid, Registered Nurse:

“The rate setting approach does not take into consideration if there is payment variation by facility, service, community or any other factors. This has significant potential to limit all of Colorado citizens’ options with choosing health insurance coverage… Ensuring Colorado citizens in rural communities have access to healthcare is important but there are no specifics provided on how this will be accomplished. There is nothing relative to safeguarding the sustainability of urban hospitals which may be at risk with the rate setting approach presented.”

Kimberly Mayton, Registered Nurse, HealthONE:

“As a health care professional for forty years, I have experience in small community facilities, as well as large major medical centers and teaching hospitals. I have worked as a nursing assistant, a critical care nurse and a bedside case manager. I too want to see a reduction in the cost of insurance coverage, which has skyrocketed in recent years. However, health insurance and health care are not the same things and cutting payments to the dedicated professionals who actually provide health care in Colorado is not the real answer…Cutting reimbursement rates will only threaten the quality of care we can provide and limit access to health care across the state. If below-cost reimbursement rates expand even further in Colorado, providers will have no choice but to cut services, staff, and possibly close their doors altogether. Ultimately, patients will have less access to quality care, not more, and our state will be the worse for it… Instead of introducing more government intrusion into the markets, we must strengthen and protect our existing safety-net programs and address the drivers of costs by fostering competition and dynamic private insurance market in which plans and providers compete on the basis of cost and quality – not a system that makes promises that can’t be kept and leaves taxpayers to clean up the mess.”

Carolyn Carroll Flynn, Nurse Manager, UCHealth in Colorado Springs:

“I disagree with the plan’s proposal to use government rate setting to cut reimbursements for hospitals. I believe such actions will force a dramatic reduction of services provided by hospitals like the one where I work as well as reducing or eliminating our community programs. I care about my patients and the community we share. And I worry that some hospitals will not be strong enough to weather these cutes and will be forced to permanently close. This proposal will cause serious harm to our patients, our communities, and our hospitals.”

Theresa Cuccio, NICU Registered Nurse:

“We believe our patients deserve better and therefore our policymakers must do better. State officials need to slow this process down, focus on the facts and develop responsible policies that address the cost of healthcare insurance while also preventing unintended consequences – including staff and services reductions at Colorado hospitals.”