Colorado’s Rural Hospitals Nervously Ponder Their Post-Obamacare Future

From Colorado Public Radio:

Hospitals executives recently delivered a dire warning about the future of rural hospitals: They’re calling themselves the canaries in the coal mine. Many of their facilities are already facing a financial crisis.

Konnie Martin, the CEO of San Luis Valley Health in Alamosa, is one of them. The south central Colorado hospital provides 670 jobs and is the region’s largest employer. It’s the “only hospital in the six-county region that delivers babies and the only hospital that does any specialty or surgical services,” Martin said.

The hospital has benefitted financially from the expansion of insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, Martin said. But it operates on a thin margin, one that could be upended if the ACA replacement doesn’t address their financial challenges.

“The hospital being the largest employer, the largest annual budget, if we become unstable through this period of uncertainty, it could destabilize our entire local community,” Martin said.

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