Denver Hospital System Says It’s on Verge of Collapse Over Migrant Crisis

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January 19, 2024

A hospital system in Denver said the migrant crisis the city faces could drive it into financial collapse as it struggles to make ends meet, with over $100 million in unpaid-for care.

"While I have tremendous compassion for what’s going on, it’s heartbreaking, it’s going to break Denver Health," the safety net hospital's CEO, Donna Lynne, told a committee of the city council last week, according to the Denver Post. In the past year, 8,000 illegal immigrants have come to the hospital for 20,000 visits, the cost of which goes into the millions and has not been reimbursed by the state and federal governments.

The strain from treating the migrants has contributed to $136 million in care the hospital provided last year for which it has not received compensation.

Lynne said the hospital last year closed 15 beds it would have used to treat patients suffering from mental health problems and addiction. She added that Denver Health is "turning down patients every day," particularly in those areas of treatment.

Denver is not the only city whose public institutions are facing financial difficulties amid the influx of migrants. New York City mayor Eric Adams (D.) said last month that the city will experience "extremely painful" budget cuts in 2024.

"Everything's on the table," he said in response to a question about what the cuts may look like, "but we want to minimize the impact to low-income New Yorkers, our educational institutions, our public safety."