Private for-profit hospitals are bad news

Friday, Aug. 31, 2018 4:56 PM

My letter is in reference to an article published in The Durango Herald (“Animas Surgical Hospital sees room to grow,” Aug. 19).

According to this article, ASH is bursting at the seams. I have a problem with the existence of a for-profit hospital in our small community. My belief is that, in the long run, private for-profit hospitals cause our healthcare costs to rise.

ASH had a profit margin of 19.7 percent in 2015 (the most recent year for which this information is available) and spent only $5,000 on charity care. Meanwhile, nonprofit Mercy Regional Medical Center operated with an 8.5 percent profit margin and spent $1.2 million on charitable care in 2015. (This information is from “The Financial Health of Colorado Hospitals, Trends, 2011 – 2015.”)

Furthermore, ASH has the added benefit of skimming off some of the most profitable surgeries and procedures that otherwise would go to Mercy.

Something is wrong with this picture. Ultimately, we all pay for the profits made by privately-run, for-profit surgical hospitals.

Betsy Morriss