Letter: State Rep. McCluskie, Sen. Rankin show good governance at its best | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: State Rep. McCluskie, Sen. Rankin show good governance at its best

On behalf of our hospitals, and with the introduction of House Bill 22-1329, the state’s budget bill or the “long bill,” we would like to thank our Western Slope legislators on the state’s Joint Budget Committee, or JBC, along with JBC Chair Rep. Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon, and Sen. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, for their tireless efforts to ensure the state budget reflects our communities’ priorities.

With health care, education, housing, child care, transportation, workforce issues and more, this year’s state budget has the unusual challenge of having excess revenue, driven by billions of dollars of federal COVID-19 relief funds. But navigating how to invest one-time funding smartly and sustainably into key state priorities takes incalculable time, effort and dedication. Rep. McCluskie and Sen. Rankin have each demonstrated their ability to effectively lead difficult conversations on difficult budget issues.

Most importantly to our hospitals this year, that meant asking tough questions about the state’s proposals to change Medicaid payments to hospitals and other community providers. These payments are essential for hospitals’ ability to continue to provide care in our communities, and collectively with other hospitals, essential to ensure access to necessary health care across the Western Slope and Colorado.

Ultimately, through Rep. McCluskie’s and Sen. Rankin’s leadership, the coming year’s budget will give sufficient funding to the state’s Medicaid program to develop new payment models and meaningfully engage health care providers and other stakeholders for input, but it won’t give the state free rein to change future Medicaid payments however they see fit.

This is good governance at its best, and while we appreciate the entire JBC’s efforts on this issue, we’re grateful to have the strong and capable leadership of Rep. McCluskie and Sen. Rankin representing our Western Slope values at the state capitol in Denver. Thank you again to these leaders, and we encourage the legislature to pass the long bill to support our state and our prudent investments in our health care system.

Soniya Fidler,

President of UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center

Jennifer Riley

Chief executive officer of Memorial Regional Health

Jason Cleckler

Chief executive officer of Middle Park Health

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