Denver hospital at 'critical point' after illegal immigrants overwhelm health system

"While I have tremendous compassion for what’s going on, it's heartbreaking, it's going to break Denver Health."

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
Denver's public healthcare system, Denver Health, is in "critical" condition as it continues to deal with a rise in patients not being able to pay their medical bills. 

While Denver residents and those on Medicaid account for the vast majority of those receiving "uncompensated care," officials have made it clear that the unprecedented rise in illegal immigrants arriving in the city has been the straw that broke the camel's back.

According to the Denver Gazette, in 2023, $135 million in uncompensated care was reported, a $10 million increase over the year before. As the Daily Mail points out, $100 million of that bill was run up by residents of the city, and the total includes visits that will be covered by Medicaid.

Nonetheless, Denver Health CEO Dr. Donna Lynne lamented that the system was "at a critical, critical point," and, "because our costs exceed our revenues, we are turning down patients every day, particularly in the area of mental health and substance abuse."

"While I have tremendous compassion for what’s going on, it's heartbreaking," she added, "it's going to break Denver Health."

Chief Government and Community Affairs Officer Dr. Steven Federico said that the jump was due to the growing number of illegal immigrants utilizing the system, noting that an estimated 8,000 had made 20,000 visits to the hospital.

Associate Director of Pediatrics Emergency Medicine Dr. Taylor McCormick explained that, by and large, "these patients don't have medical insurance," and thus, "Denver Health is eating the cost for many of these visits."

"There's going to be a point where the numbers make this very, very hard," McCormick added. "We're already past the breaking point, to a certain extent."

Denver has taken in over 37,000 illegal immigrants since the crisis began, many of whom are being taken care of at the taxpayers' expense.
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