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Salazar: Federal cuts will hurt Colorado hospitals

Steven K. Paulson
Associated Press
Vail, CO Colorado

DENVER, Colorado – Proposed federal cuts could cost Colorado hospitals $150 million a year and end preventive care for uninsured patients, Sen. Ken Salazar and health-care officials said Tuesday.

“We have a huge issue that is facing health care in Colorado that requires the urgent attention of our president and Congress,” Salazar said. “My hope is we are able to fight back.”

Salazar, D-Colorado, discussed the cuts with Colorado Hospital Association and hospital officials.

He said new rules proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and supported by President Bush would cut nearly $5 billion from the federal portion of the Medicaid program over the next five years.

Salazar said the rules would have “a significant and immediate impact” on Colorado, hurting 25 “safety net” hospitals for low-income patients.

Hardest hit would be Denver Health, which would lose $81 million a year, and the University of Colorado Hospital, which would lose $40 million. The University of Colorado said the hospital would be forced to stop providing any non-emergency care for uninsured patients.

Other states have responded by forming quasi-governmental agencies to get around the new rules, but Salazar said the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights makes that all but impossible in Colorado.

Steven Summers, president of the hospital association, said the change puts the state’s most vulnerable citizens ” women and children ” at risk.

“There is no doubt it would have a drastic impact,” Summers said.

Patricia Gabow, chief of the Denver Health and Hospital Authority, said her hospital would be forced to cut back on preventive medicine and focus on emergency treatment, which will raise health care costs.

“You do the opposite of trying to prevent the need for health care,” she said.

List of hospitals hurt by Medicaid shortfall

Sen. Ken Salazar says several Colorado hospitals could be hurt by proposed federal spending cuts. The hospitals, and the annual federal funding they would lose:

Denver Health, Denver, $81 million

University of Colorado Health System, Aurora, $40 million

The Children’s Hospital, Aurora, $420,000

Memorial Hospital, Colorado Springs, $9.7 million

Banner Health North Colorado Medical Center, Greeley, $3.6 million

Poudre Valley Hospital, Fort Collins, $2.2 million

Arkansas Valley Regional Medical Center, La Junta, $1.4 million

San Luis Valley Medical Center, Alamosa, $1 million

Montrose Memorial Hospital, Montrose, $532,000

St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center, Pueblo, $176,000

Columbia/HealthOne Rose Medical Center, Denver $156,000

Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital, Denver, $152,000

St. Mary’s Hospital and Medical Center Inc., Grand Junction, $151,000

Columbia/HealthOne Swedish Medical Center, Englewood, $140,000

Centura Health Saint Anthony North Hospital, Westminster, $135,000

Banner Health East Morgan County Hospital, Brush, $50,000

Centura Health Saint Anthony Central Hospital, Denver, $49,000

Columbia/HealthOne Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center, Denver, $44,000

Gunnison Valley Hospital, Gunnison, $18,000

National Jewish Medical and Research Center, Denver, $2,900

Centura Health Penrose St. Francis Health Services, Colorado Springs -$2,200

Columbia/HealthOne North Suburban Medical Center, Thornton, $1,900

Craig Rehabilitative Hospital, Englewood, $1,600

Southwest Memorial Hospital, Cortez, $200

Columbia/HealthOne Medical Center of Aurora, Aurora, $300


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