Rising uncompensated care costs have Denver Health at 'critical point,' CEO says

Denver Health is pushing for more state and federal funding as it grapples with ballooning uncompensated care costs, NBC affiliate KUSA reported Jan. 9.  

CEO Donna Lynne, DrPH, told city and county leaders that Denver Health lost $60 million from uncompensated care in 2020, which doubled to $120 million in 2022, according to the report. In 2023, Denver Health — Colorado's only safety net hospital — lost $136 million, with $35 million of that coming from patients who live outside the city. 

Dr. Lynne said "Denver Health is at a critical, critical point," and it is being forced to take drastic measures to meet financial demands. 

She said the system has managed to face the challenges by closing beds, according to the report. 

"To me, that's abominable," she said. "I don't want to do that. But because our operating costs exceed what our revenues are, we are turning down patients every day, particularly in the area of mental health and substance abuse."

Dr. Lynne said Denver Health also has reduced its employees' salary increases. 

Among the challenges the safety net hospital is facing is caring for migrants, according to the report. The hospital has seen 8,000 migrants for 20,000 visits, but there is no reimbursement for that care. She said although she has "tremendous compassion for what's going on — it's heartbreaking — it's going to break Denver Health in a way that we didn't even anticipate."     

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars