We wanted to provide you with an update on the latest developments surrounding our ongoing efforts to protect Colorado’s medical liability climate.  

Background on the issue

As you know, medical liability caps play a crucial role in maintaining a balance that ensures fair compensation for patients while protecting health care providers from excessive financial burdens. We know that reasonable medical liability caps keep talented medical professionals practicing medicine in our state, which is critical for protecting access to high-quality, affordable health care for all Coloradans.

In the last few years, we’ve seen an increasing trend across the country to raise or eliminate non-economic damage (NED) caps, which are defined as subjective, non-quantifiable losses such as reduced quality of life, pain, and emotional trauma. These efforts have included ballot fights and legislative compromises in states like California, Iowa and Nevada. Colorado’s Health Care Availability Act (HCAA) – the long-held, bipartisan statutory structure governing medical liability – has been named as the latest target of these efforts. We’ve been made aware of an effort to eliminate Colorado’s long-held caps on non-economic damages, including those that apply in medical liability cases, by placing one or more measures on the statewide ballot in November 2024.

Our efforts and where we’re at today

Our primary goal is to find a reasonable solution that keeps health care affordable and accessible in Colorado for both the patient and provider. We have been working in good faith alongside our health care partners to engage in discussions that would prevent any effort to weaken or eliminate key provisions within the HCAA.

While we remain open to discussions and hope for a collaborative solution, we are prepared with a number of levers to activate if any effort threatening Colorado’s stable liability climate materializes. It’s important to emphasize that we are working in close coordination with the broader health care industry, including our partners at COPIC and the Colorado Hospital Association, as well as organizations representing nurses, health facilities, physicians, dentists, women’s health advocates and other health care professionals. We stand united on this issue and are prepared to engage the strength of our combined coalition if and when it is needed.

What’s next

We recognize the significance of this issue to our members and the medical community at-large; therefore, we are committed to keeping you updated as we learn more and as this situation progresses in 2024. Please stay tuned in to our newsletters for future updates and look for any Code Blue calls to action when your voice is needed on this issue.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to kate_alfano@cms.org. Together, we will work toward a solution that preserves Colorado’s stable medical liability climate.

Categories: Communications, ASAP