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2,246 Unborn children The abortion doctor found death on property

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2,246 Unborn children The abortion doctor found death on property

After finding thousands of preserved fetal remains on the estate of a well-known former abortion doctor from South Bend, Will County officials conduct an inquiry.

The lawyer for Dr. Ulrich Klopfer’s family approached them on Thursday, informing them about the grisly discovery of 2,246 medically preserved fetal remains, according to the Will County Sheriff’s Office.

Dr. Klopfer was suspended in 2015 on charges of failing to report a 13-year-old girl’s abortion, and the horrifying discovery of thousands of fetal components on his estate raises questions about the real nature of his job.

WGNTV reports: The attorney said the remains had been discovered while passing through the estate of Klopfer and contacted the coroner to request appropriate removal.

Sheriff’s detectives, Crime Scene Investigators, and coroner’s office officials arrived at the address and took over the remains.

Authorities said there is no proof that the estate carried any medical operations.

Reports from WSBT in South Bend Kloper used to exercise at South Bend’s Women’s Pavilion. His medical permit was suspended in 2015 after accusing a 13-year-old girl of not reporting an abortion.

The office of the Sheriff said the family cooperates completely with this inquiry.

Rajesh is a freelancer with a background in e-commerce marketing. Having spent her career in startups, He specializes in strategizing and executing marketing campaigns.

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Haitians returning to a homeland that’s far from welcoming

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Haitians returning to a homeland that’s far from welcoming

By Alberto Arce and Rodrigo Abd, The Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Deported from the United States, Pierre Charles landed a week ago in Port-au-Prince, a capital more dangerous and dystopian than the one he’d left four years before. Unable to reach his family, he left the airport alone, on foot.

Charles was unsure how to make his way to the Carrefour neighborhood through a city shrouded in smoke and dust, often tolling with gunfire from gangs and police. On the airport road, the 39-year-old laborer tried unsuccessfully to flag down packed buses. He asked motorcycle drivers to take him but was told again and again that the trip was too risky.

Finally, someone agreed to take him as far as a bus stop.

“I know there are barricades and shootings,” Charles said as he took off into the unknown, “but I have nowhere else to go.”

• • •

This story is part of a series, Haiti: Business, politics and gangs, produced with support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

• • •

At least 2,853 Haitians deported from Texas have landed here in the last week with $15-$100 in cash handouts and a “good luck out there” from migration officials — many setting foot in the country for the first time in years, even decades.

More than a city, Port-au-Prince it is an archipelago of gang-controlled islands in a sea of despair. Some neighborhoods are abandoned. Others are barricaded behind fires, destroyed cars and piles of garbage, occupied by heavily armed men. On Saturday, a local newspaper reported 10 kidnappings in the previous 24 hours including a journalist, a singer’s mother and a couple driving with their toddler, who was left behind in the car.

Rodrigo Abd, The Associated Press

A gang member, wearing a balaclava and holding a gun, poses for a photo in the Portail Leogane neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021. There could be as many as 100 gangs in Port-au-Prince; no one has an exact count and allegiances often are violently fluid.

Even before the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July, the government was weak — the Palace of Justice inactive, congress disbanded by Moïse and the legislative building pocked by bullets. Now, although there is a prime minister, it is absent.

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U.S. officials: Biden aide to meet Saudi crown prince on Yemen

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U.S. officials: Biden aide to meet Saudi crown prince on Yemen

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan is traveling to Saudi Arabia on Monday to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as the U.S. presses for a cease-fire in the yearslong war between the kingdom and Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Sullivan will be the highest-ranking Biden administration official to visit Saudi Arabia. Besides seeing the crown prince, often referred to by his initials, MBS, Sullivan is expected to meet with deputy defense minster Khalid bin Salman, a brother to the crown prince, according to two senior administration officials. The officials were not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The Biden White House has largely steered clear of the crown prince since making public in February a CIA report that showed MBS likely approved the killing of Washington Post columnist and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi in a 2018 operation at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.

But the White House has resolved that bringing an end to perhaps the world’s most complex conflict can’t be done without engaging with the most senior Saudi officials face to face, one senior administration official said.

National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne said Sullivan was traveling to Riyadh on Monday and would also visit the United Arab Emirates, a Saudi ally in the war, but did not provide additional details. Axios first reported that Sullivan was planning on traveling to the region.

Sullivan is being dispatched at a moment when the situation in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, has further deteriorated. Fighting has intensified in the key city of Marib, as Iran-backed rebels have sought to oust the Saudi-backed government from the oil-rich city in the country’s north.

International efforts to end the war have been fruitless. Tim Lenderking, the U.S. special envoy for Yemen, called out the Houthis in July for continuing “to refuse to engage meaningfully on a cease-fire and political talks.” Saudi Arabia offered a cease-fire proposal to Yemen’s Houthi rebels earlier this year as it looked to rehabilitate its image with the Biden administration.

The Saudis have drawn international criticism for airstrikes killing civilians and embargoes exacerbating hunger in a nation on the brink of famine.

The new U.N. special envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, recently declared that the country is “stuck in an indefinite state of war” and resuming negotiations to end the more than six-year conflict won’t be easy.

Yemen’s war began in September 2014, when the Iranian-backed Houthis seized Sanaa and began a march south to try to seize the entire country. Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates and other countries, entered the war alongside Yemen’s internationally recognized government in March 2015.

The U.S. sold bombs and fighter jets to Saudi Arabia that the kingdom later used in strikes on Yemen that also killed civilians. The Obama administration in 2015 initially offered U.S. targeting assistance to Saudi Arabia’s command-and-control operations that was supposed to minimize civilian casualties in airstrikes. It didn’t, and Obama ultimately cut back on the program.

Under President Donald Trump, targeting assistance continued although his administration later stopped U.S. refueling operations for Saudi jets.

Biden announced weeks into his administration that he was ending all American support for “offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arms sales.” But there has been little progress on the ground in resolving what the United Nations says is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

White House officials are hopeful that the appointment of Grundberg will bring a new dynamic and put pressure on all sides to bring an end to the conflict, according to two senior administration officials.

Sullivan is being joined for the talks with the Saudis and the UAE by Lenderking and NSC senior director for the Middle East Brett McGurk. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin planned to travel to Saudi Arabia earlier this month while he was in the region but postponed due to what the administration said were scheduling issues.

The high-level White House push comes after Lenderking traveled to Saudi Arabia and Oman, which has pressed for an end to the war. In addition, Secretary of State Antony Blinken had talks with his counterpart members of the Gulf Cooperation Council on the margins of the U.N. General Assembly.

Sullivan’s visit to Saudi Arabia also comes as the administration is looking for ways to resurrect the Iran nuclear deal. The Saudis and the UAE fiercely oppose returning to the deal with Iran that was originally brokered in 2015 by the Obama administration only to be scrapped by Trump in 2018.

Addressing the U.N. General Assembly on Friday, Iran’s new foreign minister Hossain Amir Abdollah said the country will return to nuclear negotiations in Vienna “very soon.” But he accused the Biden administration of sending contradictory messages by saying it wants to rejoin the pact while slapping new sanctions on Tehran and not taking “an iota of positive action.”

Biden and his team have made a U.S. return to the deal — to which Britain, France, Russia, China, Germany and Iran are signatories — one of their top foreign policy priorities. But the U.S. has made limited headway in indirect talks, and Tehran has bristled at Biden administration officials’ call for a “longer and stronger” deal than the original, which expires at the end of 2030.

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Denver woman suffers stroke after hitting chin during scooter accident

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Denver woman suffers stroke after hitting chin during scooter accident

A Denver woman is recovering in the hospital following a stroke as a result of a scooter accident.

Christa Moritz was celebrating her husband Sam Olivas-Moritz’s birthday on Sept. 18 with tickets to the Westword Music Showcase in Denver when she crashed on a scooter near Speer Boulevard and Kalamath Street, landing on her chin.

Apart from some bleeding and a chipped tooth, everything seemed fine from the outside, Olivas-Moritz said. But after arriving at the concert venue, things changed.

“She started slurring her speech. … That’s when we noticed that something was wrong. Then she basically started to lose her balance,” Olivas-Moritz said.

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Editorial: We supported Neil Gorsuch; now we implore him to support women’s liberty

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Editorial: We supported Neil Gorsuch; now we implore him to support women’s liberty

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, a Coloradan whose nomination we enthusiastically supported in 2017, is the one person remaining who can protect the reproductive freedom of American women.

We implore Gorsuch, a man we put our trust in with unwavering support, to not upend almost 50 years of Supreme Court precedent guaranteeing women the autonomy to make the most crucial personal decision they will ever consider – whether or not to carry a pregnancy for nine months and give birth to a child.

“We are not afraid of a judge who strictly interprets the Constitution based solely on the language and intent of our nation’s founders, as long as he is willing to be consistent even when those rulings conflict with his own beliefs,” we wrote in the weeks leading up to Gorsuch’s appointment as President Donald Trump considered a host of less appetizing judges.

But a large crack has been struck in the rock of our faith in Gorsuch.

Gorsuch sided with the conservative majority on the court in a 5-4 decision to allow a Texas law to take effect that we believeis unconstitutional on its face.

That 5-4 ruling is forcing women in Texas to continue unwanted pregnancies. Today, as you read this, women in the very earliest stages of pregnancy are denied abortions in Texas, contrary to the court’s Roe v. Wade ruling that the government could not ban abortions until after the point of fetal viability outside the womb.

The court essentially decided that it cannot rule until plaintiffs with standing bring the case.  While women in Texas must either have babies or flee the state in search of medical care, the court decided to hear oral arguments in December on another abortion ban, this one in Mississippi.

Gorsuch must, for the good of women and families across this nation, join the minority of jurists and strike down these unconstitutional laws. Not only are women’s rights under assault, but religious freedom (or rather freedom from religion) is also under attack.

In Mississippi and Texas, a gaggle of mostly conservative Christian men is forcing religious practices, beliefs and views on every woman and doctor in their states. If the newly appointed Christian majority of the Supreme Court upholds those laws, trust in America’s greatest secular institution will be irreparably harmed. Gorsuch and his colleagues are called upon to uphold the U.S. Constitution, not the word of God. Regardless of the legal hoops the conservative majority will attempt to jump through in any opinion they write abandoning Roe and the cases that have built upon its foundation, Americans will struggle to draw any conclusion other than that the separation of church and state has officially ended.

Here’s the legal problem Gorsuch would have with attempting to say Roe v Wade was based upon a faulty interpretation of the 14th Amendment — the court has upheld that interpretation numerous times and not just with regard to abortion. In the 1992 ruling of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, the court addressed skepticism about Roe v. Wade head-on.

“Roe determined that a woman’s decision to terminate her pregnancy is a ‘liberty’ protected against state interference by the substantive component of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment,” wrote justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony Kennedy and David Souter in the majority opinion.  “Neither the Bill of Rights nor the specific practices of States at the time of the Fourteenth Amendment’s adoption marks the outer limits of the substantive sphere of such “liberty.” Rather, the adjudication of substantive due process claims may require this Court to exercise its reasoned judgment in determining the boundaries between the individual’s liberty and the demands of organized society. The Court’s decisions have afforded constitutional protection to personal decisions relating to marriage, see, e.g., Loving v. Virginia; procreation, Skinner v. Oklahoma; family relationships, Prince v. Massachusetts; child rearing and education, Pierce v. Society of Sisters; and contraception, Griswold v. Connecticut and have recognized the right of the individual to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child, Eisenstadt v. Baird. Roe’s central holding properly invoked the reasoning and tradition of these precedents.”

Gorsuch cannot unwind such a legal opinion woven into so many decades of court precedent and still expect Americans to have faith in the highest court in the land. For a judge or justice who has pledged an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution, upholding women’s liberty – even if he or she is ethically or religiously opposed to abortion – is what is required of them.

Do the right thing, Gorsuch, for this country.

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Five new attractions at Colorado ski resorts we can’t wait to try this winter

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Five new attractions at Colorado ski resorts we can’t wait to try this winter

Fall arrived on Wednesday and now we’re counting down the days to ski season, knowing that by this time next month we could have lifts turning at two or three Front Range ski areas. And, yes, our skis are already waxed, tuned and ready to go.

While we wait anxiously to visit our favorite ski areas and backcountry tours, we’ve compiled a list of five cool new amenities at Colorado resorts this season that we think you will like:

Steilhang Hut, Arapahoe Basin: In German, steilhang means “steep slope,” but for many skiers it evokes images of the most prestigious downhill race in the world at Kitzbuehel, Austria (the scariest pitch on that legendary course is called The Steilhang). The Steilhang Hut at A-Basin takes its name from the steep slopes of the East Wall that loom above it. The new German-style alpine hut, located near the top of the ski area above treeline, will feature Colorado-made specialty sausages, German-style craft beer from Denver’s Prost Brewing Co., soft pretzels and strudel made by Denver bakeries. It will be located at the intersection of two intermediate trails, Lenawee Face and Dercum’s Gulch. It will have a wraparound deck, composting toilets and solar power. Sight unseen, but knowing the setting well, we think this might become our favorite place on a ski mountain for lunch.

Loveland Snowcat Tours in Dry Gulch: Dry Gulch is located on the north side of Interstate 70, just east of Loveland’s Lift 8, outside the operational boundaries of the ski area. The snowcat will provide guided backcountry tours in 580 acres of open bowl and tree skiing. Full-day trips consisting of eight to 11 runs with 600 to 800 feet of vertical drop will be offered along with lunch, and avalanche transceivers will be provided. Trips will be offered when conditions permit and are expected to start in January. Prices have not yet been set.

McCoy Park, a 250-acre expansion coming this ski season at Beaver Creek, is designed to make the experience of open bowl skiing — typically reserved for expert and advanced skiers — accessible to beginners and intermediates. (Brooks Freehill, provided by Beaver Creek Resort)

McCoy Park, Beaver Creek: The notion of bowl skiing typically conjures images of wide-open vistas with steep and deep terrain, the exclusive province of expert and advanced skiers and riders. The intent of McCoy Park, Beaver Creek’s 250-acre expansion, is to give families with less advanced skills a sense of what the bowl-skiing experience is like. With 17 runs and two chairlifts, the terrain is suitable for beginners and low-intermediates. Vail Resorts’ PR material says the idea is to give beginners and intermediates a chance to improve their skills on terrain “mimicking the setting of advanced trails such as mountain-top vistas, groomed glades, adventure zones and more.”

Ember at Snoasis, Winter Park: There’s something lovably old school about Snoasis, a mid-mountain restaurant built back in the 1960s. This season it will have a trendy new dining amenity, the trend being outdoor dining with modern cuisine. Ember will be set up on an outdoor patio at Snoasis with a live fire wall. Guests will be able to choose from a menu of “global cuisines” and a “cut of the day,” such as lamb or wild game. Snoasis has always been one of those places you want to linger on a sunny day and savor the views, but this season it should be even more tasty. Something else to keep in mind: If you’re a fan of Stoney’s Bar & Grill, the popular Denver sports bar will have a new location in the Winter Park Village base area.

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Excess at its best: LoDo’s K Contemporary gallery gives “bunny artist” Hunt Slonem the big show he deserves

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Excess at its best: LoDo’s K Contemporary gallery gives “bunny artist” Hunt Slonem the big show he deserves

Hunt Slonem is an artist and a brand. He is known best for his large, repetitive paintings of bunnies — and his work is in 250 museums across the globe.

It’s also on tote bags, throw pillows, beach hats and assorted tabletop accessories that he sells on his website, as well as in a dedicated “Hop Up Shop” at the Bergdorf Goodman department store. He’s figured out how to what so many artists dream of: sell work on a grand scale while retaining creative credibility. Four-plus decades into his career, he is bigger than ever, and everyone seems to like him.

For his first solo exhibition in Denver, K Contemporary Gallery matches that bigness by placing his work in an opulent, over-the-top setting that resembles an elegant salon. There are more than 300 Slonem objects in the show, titled “Curiouser and Curiouser,” and they are surrounded by luxe furnishings — candelabras, chandeliers, gilded mirrors, fancy rugs — making for an immersive art experience not often seen in commercial galleries.

Gallery owner Doug Kacena, who curated the exhibition with Jonathan Saiz, said the backdrop was inspired by Slonem’s second pre-occupation, buying and restoring historic homes. In between all those rabbit paintings, he’s been the force behind efforts to save landmarks such as Charles Sumner Woolworth’s mansion in Scranton, Pa., and the Cordts Mansion in Kingston, N.Y.

To create the scenery, the curators borrowed wares from Denver stalwarts Erin Johnson Antiques and Shaver-Ramsey Fine and Custom Rugs. They painted walls in brilliant blues, hot yellows and flat blacks. They set out enough exquisite tables and chairs to open a fine restaurant. It’s all very lush and busy and indulgent.

But it’s well-reasoned and art-first. The interior decoration doesn’t overwhelm the work. Part of that is because there is so much of it; art is stacked, hung and set everywhere in the two-story gallery.

The other part is that Slonem’s products can take the competition. They are full of color and confidence, and maximalism is their charm.

Slonem works over a variety of media. There are the paintings, of course, but also three-dimensional glassworks, as well as bronze works, neon works and outdoor sculptures. Slonem is productive, and maybe to a fault: His output has a distinct signature but there’s also a mass-produced, factory-made feel to it, and the commercial product lines only enhance that perception.

“Curiouser and Curiouser” puts a positive spin on that abundance by honoring the concept of excess and playing up Slonem’s “neo-expressionist” habit of repetition. He paints bunnies again and again, birds again and again, butterflies again and again. He piles on the color and crams subject matter onto canvases.

If you go

Hunt Slonem’s “Curiouser and Curiouser” continues through Nov. 6 at K Contemporary, 1412 Wazee St. It’s free. Info at 303-590-9800 or kcontemporaryart.com.

One notable painting in the show pairs various species of feathery, tropical birds with bears and layers them on top of jungle flora rendered in sharp yellows, golds, reds and greens. Even his simple black line drawings of bunnies — the ones he is most famous for — feature bursts of oranges and purples in the background.

The gallery describes the overall effect as a “meditative visual mantra,” and it is possible to see these pieces, all together, as something like spiritual chants — not quite quiet, but meditative in the way they allow one idea to relentlessly occupy brain space. Bunnies, if you have enough them, can be hypnotic.

1632747826 319 Excess at its best LoDos K Contemporary gallery gives bunny
Hunt Slonem also makes bunnies out of neon. (Provided by K Contemporary Gallery)

But it’s also possible to see these works as a depiction of nature and all of its power: bunnies with their capacity to reproduce, butterflies with their adaptability to change. Through endless repetition, Slonem’s work suggests animals and plants — even delicate, winged insects — are strong, inevitable forces, not secondary to humans but equally mighty. There’s a frivolity to the paintings and sculptures, a silliness, but also great respect for the environment.

“Curiouser and Curiouser,” because of its excess, brings that quality out of the work in a way many Slonem’s fans might not have recognized in the past. It’s solid a testimony in favor of the art of curation.

“Curiouser and Curiouser” is also, simply said, a fun show to see. It would have been easy for K Contemporary to just throw these works up on a wall or place them on pedestals. That is what commercial galleries usually do, and Slonem’s star-power would have brought in the crowds regardless of how the objects were displayed.

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Most Colorado hospitals post some required price information — but it still may not be what you pay

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Most Colorado hospitals post some required price information — but it still may not be what you pay

Most Colorado hospitals are at least partially complying with rules meant to make it easier for patients to shop for care, but even if people find and use all the price tools available, there’s still a chance they won’t know what they’re paying until they get a bill.

Colorado passed a law requiring hospitals to post self-pay prices for their most common procedures in 2017. Two years later, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services mandated that hospitals post their chargemasters — essentially, a list of “sticker prices” for almost anything they offer, from procedures to the daily rate for a room.

Now, hospitals also have to post the rates they’ve negotiated with insurance companies and whatever discounts they offer to uninsured people, as well as the estimated cost for “shoppable” services.

The Denver Post surveyed the websites of 87 Colorado hospitals to find out whether they were posting price information as required by the state and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Of those, 34 hospitals posted all required prices, 34 posted only the sticker price, two posted no prices, and the rest posted some subset of the required information.

That’s better than the rate some nationwide studies have found. The nonprofit group Patient Rights Advocate randomly sampled 500 of the roughly 6,000 hospitals nationwide that are subject to the rule, and found only 28 included complete information. The most common problem was leaving off at least some prices, such as the rates they negotiated with insurance plans or the cash price charged to uninsured patients.

It’s possible the difference comes from the group of hospitals examined, not from any inherent tendency to follow the rules in Colorado. Nationwide studies have focused on large medical centers and hospital systems, but The Post’s analysis included both small and large hospitals. The majority of the hospitals posting all prices in Colorado were independent, and many of them were small, rural facilities.

Julie Lonborg, senior vice president at the Colorado Hospital Association, said posting all that information quickly is difficult, particularly since hospitals have diverted much of their tech talent to handle required COVID-19 reporting. There also are lingering questions about what counts as sufficiently “consumer-friendly” language, and whether posting the information required for the federal mandates will satisfy state law, she said.

“I think that we need to allow time for everyone, post-COVID, to catch up,” she said. “If we hadn’t been doing this on top of a global pandemic, we might be a little bit further.”

Lincoln Health, which includes a 15-bed hospital in Hugo, was one of the 34 hospitals that posted all required prices. Spokeswoman Megan Mosher said they contracted with a company that sells transparency tools to ensure they were in compliance, but the expense and time to maintain it might be better spent elsewhere. Few patients use the tools, and they can get more relevant information by calling, she said.

“Our patient financial counselor is able to provide complete, accurate and comprehensive price estimates to our patients, resulting in better education and financial preparedness from our patients, which is what transparency should really be about,” she said.

Hospitals that don’t comply with the federal requirements can be fined a maximum of $300 per day, but the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has proposed increasing that to $5,500 per day for the largest hospitals. Smaller hospitals would pay $10 per bed each day that they don’t comply.

Making prices public

Transparency proponents argue that forcing hospitals to post their prices will drive down health care spending by allowing people to shop around. Hospital trade groups counter that the information is essentially useless to the average person. Awareness of transparency rules is low: a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation in May found only about 9% of people knew hospitals were required to post prices.

Making price data public is useful for making policy and holding high-priced hospitals accountable, said Adam Fox, deputy director of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative. It also can help patients who are trying to find affordable care, but the posted prices aren’t a guarantee, he said.

“Ultimately, this increased transparency is good, but it’s not a silver bullet to lowering health care costs,” he said.

The vast majority of Colorado hospitals did comply with the requirement to post their chargemasters. Two of the 87 hospitals — Heart of the Rockies Medical Center and Telluride Regional Medical Center — appear to have not posted one, though Heart of the Rockies did have a tool allowing patients to look up prices. Sedgwick County Health Center has a file posted, but it didn’t contain any information when downloaded, suggesting a technical problem.

The requirement that hospitals post their chargemasters was a “helpful first step,” but it only allows for general comparisons of which hospitals are more or less expensive, Fox said. The base prices are largely theoretical, since private insurers pay lower rates, and most hospitals have discounts for people paying out-of-pocket.

In 2019, federal regulators announced they would also require hospitals to list what they charge the different insurance plans they accept, and the prices they charge people paying out-of-pocket. They also required a list of 300 “shoppable” services — scheduled procedures that allow for price comparisons.

The American Hospital Association sued to block the new rules and lost. In April, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services started sending warning letters to hospitals that hadn’t posted all the required information, but two studies in June found significant numbers still had incomplete data on their websites. Federal regulators have delayed issuing any fines to give hospitals more time to adjust, but it’s not clear how long that reprieve will last.

Only three Colorado hospitals didn’t post shoppable services: Telluride Regional Medical Center, Keefe Memorial Hospital and Sedgwick County Health Center, which once again had a file posted that didn’t show any data. Community Hospital in Grand Junction didn’t post a separate file of shoppable services, but added all of the required information to its chargemaster.

Some hospitals made it easier to find shoppable services than others, though. On 17 hospital websites, someone looking for the shoppable services list had to click through five screens, sometimes starting on pages that weren’t intuitive, such as the “pay my bill” section. Hospitals that had a price-estimating tool frequently required anyone browsing to enter personal information before using it, which could discourage some people from shopping around.

Good to double check

The new requirements give people a better idea of what they might actually pay than the chargemaster does, though it still could be a good idea to double-check with the hospital and your insurance company, Fox said. What you actually pay will depend on how complex your care is, whether all your doctors are in your insurance company’s network and how large a share of the total cost your insurance plan requires you to pay out-of-pocket.

“These shouldn’t be taken as the amount that somebody will get billed,” he said.

The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing has called for changes to make prices easier to use, and to increase penalties for hospitals that don’t comply. In a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, it asked federal regulators to:

  • Require hospitals to give guaranteed prices, not just estimates
  • Increase the minimum penalty to $300 per day, with no maximum penalty
  • Order hospitals with pricing tools to allow patients to use them without entering personal information
  • Require standardized tools and formats, so patients can make comparisons more easily
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Vail’s back bowls to get new quad as part of Vail Resorts’ $320M Epic lift upgrade

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Vail’s back bowls to get new quad as part of Vail Resorts’ $320M Epic lift upgrade

Ever wanted to lap Sun Down Bowl with only one lift ride? Vail Resorts announced Thursday an unprecedented number of on-mountain projects planned for the 2022-23 North American season in what will be the company’s largest single-year investment in its resorts.

The sweeping set of 19 new chairlifts, including 12 high-speed lifts, a new eight-person, high-speed gondola and six new fixed-grip lifts, is part of Vail Resorts’ $315 million to $325 million capital investment plan for 2022. Each of the upgrades is designed to reduce wait times, increase uphill capacity and create more lift-served terrain. The projects outlined span 14 resorts including Vail Mountain, Keystone Resort and Breckenridge Ski Resort in Colorado.

At Vail Mountain, the installation of a new high-speed four-person chair from the base of Chair 5 (High Noon Express) to the Wildwood restaurant will reduce wait times on peak days at Chair 5 and create the opportunity for skiers and riders to conveniently access the trails in Sun Down Bowl.

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Denver’s airport makes plans to plug all oil and gas wells as it focuses on sustainability

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Denver’s airport makes plans to plug all oil and gas wells as it focuses on sustainability

City leaders aim to make Denver International Airport “one of the greenest airports in the world,” but dozens of oil and gas wells that dot its sprawling landscape stand as clear contradictions of that goal.

Now DIA says it will permanently plug those 64 remaining wells, which have been idle since 2018, within three years as part of its new environmental sustainability plan. An airport spokeswoman says a bid request will go out soon to hire a contractor that can plug all of the wells by late 2023 or early 2024.

Most of those wells were operating long before DIA was built in the 1990s on 54 square acres annexed from neighboring Adams County. But over the years, the airport allowed the use of fracking to develop new wells.

The side hustle brought in $7 million in 2010, helping in a small way to subsidize DIA’s main operations. But declining gas and natural gas prices reduced that take significantly in more recent years, with the wells generating just $2.3 million in 2017.

The next year, the city auditor questioned the economics of extraction since the wells are expensive to maintain and operate.

Since DIA hit pause on the wells in May 2018, in part due to environmental concerns, airport leaders and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s administration have been cool to the idea of restarting them — though they have hesitated at times to foreclose the option. Hancock has since announced larger initiatives to address climate change, and he’s faced pressure from City Council members and environmentalists.

Now it’s official: DIA is getting out of oil and gas for good.

“Our five-year (sustainability) plan focuses on a variety of new efforts that supplement the work we are already doing, support Mayor Hancock’s climate action agenda and continue to improve environmental performance across all aspects of our operations,” said Phillip Washington, who took over as airport CEO in July, in a recent news release.

Ean Thomas Tafoya, the state director of the environmental group GreenLatinos, is among those who have pushed to ban fracking in Denver — which functionally meant fracking at DIA, the only place it occurred in the city. The most recent campaign aimed to get a city charter amendment on the ballot in 2020, but it was sidelined by the pandemic.

Tafoya praised DIA’s decision.

“We need to do away with fracking because we know it’s contributing to the climate crisis in a huge way,” he said.

DIA isn’t the only airport that’s allowed oil or gas extraction on its property. Several have dabbled with it, including Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Among DIA’s past oil customers was Suncor, which has a refinery in Adams County and supplies jet fuel back to the airport.

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CSU launches $11M “student success” effort to boost 70% graduation rate

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CSU launches $11M “student success” effort to boost 70% graduation rate

Colorado State University leaders say they’ll invest $11 million in an effort to close “equity gaps” and increase student success.

Overall, 47% of CSU students graduate within four years and 70% graduate in six years — on par with similar public universities nationwide.

“Too many students do not complete their degrees,” CSU Provost Mary Pedersen said. “This comes down to converting students into graduates. The $11 million is to increase the number of students who are successful so that they are not walking away with debt but no college degree.”

CSU officials say they’re particularly concerned about low-income students and students from marginalized communities. They’ve found lagging performance and lower graduation rates among students who are the first in their families to attend college, students from rural areas and those who face financial pressure.

The “equity gaps” have become a focus for academic administrators at CSU, the University of Colorado and around the U.S. — disparities in graduation rates that officials have correlated with family income, race, gender and other traits.

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