Hospitals report healthy profits in Colorado

Colorado's hospitals have reported a healthy profit in 2010 based on reports submitted to the Medicare program, partly the result of ongoing consolidation within the state, reported Colorado Public News and the Denver Post.

In addition to the recent mergers, the existing facilities also have been focusing on cutting costs and making care delivery more efficient.

In major metropolitan areas, the concentration is particularly acute, with hospital systems controlling two-thirds of the market in the Denver metropolitan area and HCA-HealthOne controlling nearly a third of that on its own. HCA operates eight hospitals statewide, noted the article.

According to the data, the chain's hospitals reported pre-tax net income of almost $384 million and margins topping 20 percent.

Altogether, only six of the 27 hospitals statewide with 100 beds or more operate independently.

Outside of major metropolitan areas, McKee Medical Center in Loveland reported net income of $26.8 million and a 17.5 percent profit margin.

"I really believe much or our success is due to taking proactive steps to improve quality and that includes decreasing lengths of stays, keeping people well and ultimately doing things better with less," McKee's CEO Marilyn Schock told the Colorado Public News.

However, some of the state's hospitals continue to struggle, with a dozen reporting ongoing losses.

Meanwhile, legislators have tried to introduce more price transparency into the hospital industry, to which the hospitals have objected, according to the Denver Post.

To learn more:
- read the Colorado Public News article
- read the Denver Post article about hospital price transparency