Denver Health sees $60M loss as contract labor dents performance

Denver Health, Colorado's safety-net hospital, reported a net operating loss of $60.7 million in 2022 as contract labor expenses and salaries continued to be a significant driver of costs.

The news comes shortly after Colorado's governor and hospital advocates in the state differed on whether hospital systems were making excessive profits while paying no taxes and sitting on large cash reserves, as Gov. Jared Polis claimed in his State of the State address Jan. 17.

Denver Health's expenses in 2022 totaled $1.3 billion. Federal funding helped reduce the overall operating loss to $34.5 million.

Contract labor expenses rose from $34.3 million in 2021 to almost $54 million in 2022, although such expenses dipped from a monthly high in June 2022 of $5.8 million to $3.5 million in December. Days of cash on hand fell most of the year to total approximately 87 at the end of December.

Denver Health, as well as rural hospitals in the state, largely escaped criticism from Mr. Polis because of what Colorado authorities called the "mounting headwinds" they are facing.

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