Denver Health At “Critical Point” As 8,000 Migrants Make 20,000 Emergency Visits
The Denver hospital system is turning away local residents because it is flooded with migrant visits…
Denver Health CEO Donna Lynne warned the center is in a crucial moment due to unexpected costs associated with immigrant visits.
What I think is not being said is that Denver Health is at a critical, critical point and that we need to take this up in 2024,” Lynne told the Denver City Council, 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.
CEO Speaks Out on Uncompensated Migrant Care
Beckers Hospital Review notes CEO says ‘It’s Going to Break Denver Health’
The health system is overwhelmed with care costs for uninsured patients, particularly migrants — 36,000 of whom have arrived in Denver since December 2022, according to The Denver Post.
“Where do you think the migrants are getting care? They are getting care at Denver Health,” Dr. Lynne said at a Jan. 9 finance and governance committee meeting. Her remarks were reported by CBS Colorado on Jan. 12.
Denver Health has treated more than 8,000 migrants who lack legal documentation in the past year, totaling about 20,000 visits, according to Steven Federico, MD, a pediatrician at the health system.
The majority of these patients are coming from Venezuela and arrive needing treatment for chronic and communicable diseases after making the difficult journey.
Eric Lavonas, MD, an emergency physician at Denver Health, expects the situation to worsen as subzero temperatures sweep across Colorado, exposing unhoused, uninsured populations to frostbite and hypothermia.
In 2020, the health system had about $60 million in uncompensated care costs. Last year, costs sprung to $136 million, a quarter of which came from caring for non-Denver residents.
Due to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, Denver Health cannot turn patients away from the emergency room and has resorted to other cost-cutting measures. The system closed 15 of its 78 inpatient beds for substance misuse and mental health treatment and did away with planned salary increases.
Denver Health lost $35 million in 2022, and 2023 could have been worse had the system not received some outside help, according to the Post.
Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), discusses the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act.
In 1986, Congress enacted the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA) to ensure public access to emergency services regardless of ability to pay. Section 1867 of the Social Security Act imposes specific obligations on Medicare-participating hospitals that offer emergency services to provide a medical screening examination (MSE) when a request is made for examination or treatment for an emergency medical condition (EMC), including active labor, regardless of an individual’s ability to pay. Hospitals are then required to provide stabilizing treatment for patients with EMCs. If a hospital is unable to stabilize a patient within its capability, or if the patient requests, an appropriate transfer should be implemented.
Know Your Rights
The CMS want you to Know Your Rights.
Given 20,000 visits from illegal migrants, it seems the policy “know your rights” is a rousing success except to those who ultimately have to pay for the free handouts.
“I suspect that no other hospital in the state of Colorado can say that [they have cared for so many migrants] and there has been no reimbursement for that and quite frankly it is an ongoing conversation with the city, with the state and with the federal government,” Dr. Lynne said.
Is Denver bagging or complaining?
Who was it that declared Denver a sanctuary city?
What percentage of Denver is migrants?
Is Denver a Sanctuary City?
The answer to question number one is Denver seems to be both bragging and complaining.
The answer to question number 2 is more entertaining.
In 2017, Mayor Michael Hancock, said Denver “won’t be bullied or blackmailed,” mayor says as city officials propose limiting cooperation with ICE
There was no official statement using the term “sanctuary city” but here are details of the ordinance Denver passed.
Denver will not honor immigration detainer requests to hold immigrants who would otherwise be released from jail so that immigration agents can pick them up. Denver will only respond to a judicial warrant — one signed by a judge. This reflects existing policy and the city’s understanding of the Fourth Amendment.
Denver employees will not ask for or collect information on people’s citizenship or immigration status, except as required by federal or state law. This is already prevailing city policy.
Denver will not share any information for the purposes of enforcing immigration law. Fingerprints of people booked into the jail will still go to the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, as required by federal law, and sheriff’s deputies will inform ICE when certain immigrants are due to be released from jail.
Denver will not use city resources to assist immigration enforcement, including prohibiting ICE agents from entering secure areas of the jail. That last practice is a change from current policies.
The ordinance applies to all city employees, including probation officers and pre-trial services staff in the Denver County Courts. Making this an ordinance means that employees who violate these rules face stiffer penalties than they would for violating a predominant practice.
“We will not be bullied and we will not be blackmailed. We lean on our values. The reality is we may lose funding. We understood that going forward. We are going to stand by our values because when this administration is over, that’s what we’ll be left with, our values,” said Mayor Hancock.
If that does not constitute “sanctuary city” what does?
However, denial now runs deep.
“Colorado is not a sanctuary state, and the Governor is not focused on buzzwords but on ensuring our law enforcement resources go toward fighting actual crimes to help make Coloradans safer,” Conor Cahill, a spokesperson for governor Jared Polis, told Axios in a statement in January of 2023.
Douglas County Not Sanctuary
On October 22, 2023, CBS News reported Douglas County warns Denver not to send migrants their way: “Not a sanctuary jurisdiction”
In Douglas County, leaders are affirming they are not a sanctuary county and calling on neighboring jurisdictions to follow suit.
While it doesn’t appear Denver is currently trying to relocate any migrants to Douglas County, commissioners there want to make it clear that they’re not welcome. It comes after Denver sent migrants to Adams County with little to no communication.
“Douglas County expressly affirms that the county is not a sanctuary jurisdiction,” Douglas County Commissioner Abe Laydon said in an Oct. 12 news conference.
“It was just a lot of political rhetoric and I just don’t think that Douglas County commissioners have the responsibility or even the right to demand or dictate that the Denver mayor say that Denver is not a sanctuary city,” said Thomas.
But she agrees Douglas County is not the place for migrants. Despite the county being one of the wealthiest in the country, Thomas says it’s an issue of resources.
“We have no shelters in Douglas County and it’s not humane or compassionate to bring people here to Douglas County and drop them off at a park,” said Thomas.
The resolution states Douglas County recognizes the humanitarian plight of these migrants and encourages legal migration. It also encourages Douglas County citizens who want to help migrants to donate to the Newcomers Fund.
What Percentage of Denver is Migrant?
It’s about one in twelve according to Vera.
Who Will Pay for This?
I believe you know the answer.
You will, to varying degrees. Those in sanctuary cities like Denver will bear the brunt whether or not the mayor or governor is in denial.
Those in places like Douglas County that “recognize the humanitarian plight” while “expressly affirming that the county is not a sanctuary jurisdiction,” not as much.
Emergency Executive Order to Stem Migrant Arrivals
On December 28, I noted New York City Mayor Issues Emergency Executive Order to Stem Migrant Arrivals
Adams said his executive order will help the city manage the incoming migrants “in an orderly way.”
That’s excellent news. And take heart. Kamala Harris is on the case.
Biden Doing All He Can
Our “Roots Causes Strategy” has been in place for 2.5 years, said Kamala Harris.
If that’s not progress, what is?
In addition to the clearly magnificent performance of Kamala Harris, I would like to remind everyone that Biden is doing everything he can.
Q&A on Everything He Can
Q: Everything he can? Like what?
A: Like new back doors.
In Texas, the Supreme Court Lets Feds Cut Abbott’s Razor Wire
The swing vote, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, is a Trump nominee. Expect to hear calls of “traitor”.
There is one way to decide this issue. Vote out Biden. The ruling does help Trump.
Meanwhile, the floodgates are open.
Sanctuary Cities Seek More Money for Migrants, But is Money the Problem?
On December 30, I asked Sanctuary Cities Seek More Money for Migrants, But is Money the Problem?
I suspect you know the answer to this one. If not here it is. The more money we throw at this problem, the worse it will get.
By the way, if you have not figured this out, it’s very inflationary.