How a rural Colorado hospital made it back from having no cash on hand

At the end of 2019, Craig, Colo.-based Memorial Regional Health had zero days of cash on hand. Now, following a series of painful cuts and federal relief funds, the hospital is operating with nearly two months of cash on hand, The Colorado Sun reported Feb. 14.

The cuts targeted physicians in the emergency department, and the hospital shut down its labor and delivery departments. Additionally, the hospital switched out its contract labor services to the more local Denver-based CarePoint Health.

The COVID-19 pandemic also gave the hospital a new source of federal funding. 

A report from the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform found that Colorado has seven rural hospitals at risk of closure.

"In years to come, we have to have a very real conversation in the state about: What does the sustainability of our rural health care system look like?" Joshua Ewing, the vice president of legislative affairs at the Colorado Hospital Association, told the Sun. "Now we have a tiered system of care in Colorado, and that isn't right. Your access to health care shouldn't be determined by your ZIP code."

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