Denver Health to benefit from fast-track state payment

Local legislators are fast-tracking a $5 million payment to Denver Health, which operates Colorado's safety-net hospital, according to a Feb. 8 Denver Post report.

Denver Health, whose flagship is the 555-bed acute care Denver Health Medical Center serving approximately 25 percent of the city's residents, as well as people from outside Denver, is struggling with paying uncompensated care and only has approximately 80 days of cash on hand. According to the report, the amount of uncompensated care the hospital provided has roughly doubled since 2020 to total $120 million in 2022.

While the $5 million payment will likely prove insufficient, other funding sources may include the governor's office, the report continued. Approximately $20 million may come from there in February, said state Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, chair of the joint budget committee.

Denver Health had its rating affirmed at "BBB" by Fitch Ratings Feb. 7 after the system reported an operating loss of $60.7 million in 2022. The system maintains a strong relationship with the city and county, Fitch said at the time.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis recently clashed with local hospitals over criticisms they are making excessive profits, but a local authority report supporting Mr. Polis' claims did acknowledge that Denver Health and some rural hospitals in the state are facing significantly challenging headwinds.

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