University of Colorado lease does not guarantee Memorial Hospital will continue to admit Medicare patients

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.– Local voters have until next week to decide whether to accept the offer to lease the city’s Memorial Hospital to a University of Colorado non-profit entity, but there is no guarantee that the community health needs will continue to be met, in particular, that Memorial will continue to accept Medicare. Indications are not encouraging. At a symposium held tonight by 9 to 5 Colorado addressing privatization of public services, it was revealed that Memorial provides more care to indigents than any other hospital in the state. At the same time, the Denver hospital run by the University of Colorado currently ranks last there for indigent care. Apparently teaching hospitals prefer teachable cases, and excuse themselves from the cases that create billing difficulties because “it’s not their mission.” Alas, the prestige of becoming a teaching hospital is how politicians are selling the Memorial deal, now obviously dubious. And ordinarily the privatization of medical facilities in Colorado is regulated by what’s called a “conversion statute” except –it protects the public interest only in cases of hospitals sold, not leased! While a 40-year “lease” sounds less commital, it actually circumvents Colorado’s protections. Now let’s consider the implementation of President Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act which may take some financial pressure off hospitals. Why-ever is Colorado Springs rushing to privatize before that card is face up? You can bet the medical industrialists have already factored that windfall into the profit they’re going to turn from cutting out everyone else who falls in the cracks. And we will have no say in the matter, because the lease makes that much clear. Why not ask our city attorney to confirm we’re screwed before the election and not after?

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

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