The Colorado legislature is set to end its annual session this week, and two bills critical to our campus are set for final consideration. In both cases, the bills have been amended from their introduced versions, and as a result will be less harmful than the originally introduced versions of the legislation.
HB23-1243 initially set stricter limits on what hospitals could count as a community benefit, and would have disallowed any contributions for research, education, and training. It also didn’t allow hospitals to count charity care. Fortunately, lawmakers recognized that these investments provide immense value to our community and will continue to allow these to count. While we are encouraged by those changes, which allowed us to support the amended version of the bill, there are still concerns. Namely, the bill outlines a required process for hospitals to hold community meetings and for reporting to state officials. Those requirements will create additional administrative burdens that will add costs. Also, the continuing conversation needs to recognize that hospitals alone cannot shoulder the responsibilities of addressing social determinants of health. Public health issues, such as a lack of access to healthy food choices, income inequality, and affordable housing, require public solutions that include attention to government’s role in providing resources to address these concerns.
The introduced version of HB23-1215 called for restrictions on facility fees that pay for people and services provided by our hospital partners. By the end of last week, the bill has been pared so that it no longer applies the limits on facility fees to primary and telehealth care. Language related to preventive care services was changed to reinforce requirements of the Affordable Care Act that insured patients should not have out-of-pocket responsibilities for preventive care. The bill is better than it was, but it remains problematic. The bill creates a study that will be steered by the same officials who were proponents of the introduced version of the bill.
The bills are scheduled for floor debates in the Senate this week and are expected to pass in their amended versions. We are thankful that some of our primary concerns have been addressed in the amendments. I want to thank all who helped raise awareness about our concerns. We still have significant work to do, explaining clearly to our friends and neighbors the myriad ways we improve community health. Our role as educators will be crucial to this effort.
Will Osier, an incoming student in the MD Class of 2027, and Darren Gregory, MD, associate professor of ophthalmology, are profiled in an article that describes the pioneering treatment Will received for Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a rare disorder that causes painful skin blisters all over the body, including the surface of the eyes and backs of the eyelids. Will credits Darren with saving his vision and with inspiring him to pursue a career in medicine. “Medicine is such a cool career, but I think for me it was having a hero in medicine,” says Will, who was eight years old when he met Darren. “I had a lot of follow-up appointments, and I would look forward to them. Dr. Gregory would ask me questions about soccer and my life that made me feel special as a kid.”
Thy Nguyen, a third-year medical student, received a Best New Investigator Poster Presentation Award at the Society for Reproductive Investigation annual meeting in Brisbane, Australia, in late March. Thy presented research analyzing inflammatory markers related to a high-fat diet in normal weight women. She conducts her research with Nanette Santoro, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “Whatever I do, I’m so grateful that I’ve had really good role models in research and education, and through my whole life,” Thy says. “My parents have always worked really, really hard, so it’s important to me to honor that by giving back to my community and working to ensure that people have equal access to care and equal opportunities.”
Brenda Bucklin, MD, professor of anesthesiology, has been named the recipient of the 2023 Distinguished Service Award by the Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology. Brenda receives the award at the society’s annual meeting this week at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel.
The spring 2023 issue of CU Medicine Today is posted on the School of Medicine website. The cover article describes the multidisciplinary approach to cancer care at the CU Cancer Center and features Sunnie Kim, MD, assistant professor of medicine, and Christopher Lieu, MD, associate professor of medicine. The issue also features several cases of how a team-based approach to cancer care improved the lives of our patients and their families. If you’d like a printed copy of the magazine, please contact email@example.com.
Condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Frank Marsh, Jr., JD, PhD, who died April 21. Frank practiced law for 25 years before beginning a second professional career, entering graduate school at University of Tennessee, where he received a PhD in bioethics in 1978. He then joined the CU faculty with an appointment as a professor of medical ethics and law. He established and directed the School of Medicine’s program for bioethics, law, and humanities. During his tenure, he wrote or co-authored six books, over 50 articles and book chapters, and two documentary films. He retired from CU in 1992 and returned to Knoxville, Tenn. His family is holding a private memorial service.
The Research Informatics Office is running a campaign to encourage researchers on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus to use an identifier and profiling system called ORCID, which stands for Open Researcher and Contributor ID. There is no charge to get an ORCID identifier, which is unique to each researcher and is intended to identify researchers throughout their careers. For our campus, the ORCID identifier allows for a profile to showcase work and to provide information for grant tables. ORCID is a global, not-for-profit organization sustained by fees from member organizations.
Have a good week,
John J. Reilly, Jr., MD
Richard D. Krugman Endowed Chair
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and
Dean, School of Medicine