Denver hospital system may collapse due to migrant crisis: ‘We are turning down patients’

A Denver hospital system told the city Monday it faces unprecedented challenges due to the ongoing migrant crisis.

Denver Health CEO Donna Lynne warned the center is in a crucial moment due to unexpected costs associated with immigrant visits.

The hospital closed 15 beds, reduced raises and postponed renovations after losing $2 million last year.

“Because our costs exceed our revenues, we are turning down patients every day, particularly in the area of mental health and substance abuse,” Lynne determined, according to the Denver Post.

Eight-thousand migrants from Central America accounted for approximately 20,000 visits in 2023. Denver Health asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide funds for immigrants’ medical costs. The state and federal governments aren’t reimbursing the hospital, which spent $136 million for patients who didn't pay.

Lynne asked council members to increase the city's financial support for the hospital system. She also appealed to other counties for help with little success. Dr. Steve Federico, chief of Denver Health’s government and community affairs, believes there is a limit to the center’s ability to “step up” and “figure it out,” according to the Denver Post.

City Councilwoman Amanda Sawyer claimed Denver cannot cover the hospital’s care for patients who don’t pay since some reside in other cities. Stephanie Adams, Denver’s deputy chief financial officer, argues the city must balance its priorities.

State Rep. Judy Amabile, D-Boulder, sponsored a bill in the statehouse which would commit Colorado to financially support Denver Health each year to the tune of $5 million.

“I think the city of Denver should do more, but the state also has to step in,” Amabile noted, according to the Denver Post. “Denver Health is the safety net provider for the whole state. They’re taking patients no one else will take.”

This article was originally published by The National Desk.