MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT) Hospitals all over the state, especially in Western Colorado, could be at risk, as this year's state budget proposes a $528 million reduction to the hospital provider fee.
For rural hospitals in Colorado, these cuts could be dramatic, causing a loss of jobs and services.
“We will have to look at reducing the budget to meet that reduced cash flow," said Chris Thomas, the CEO for Community Hospital.
This is a harsh reality for all hospitals across the Western Slope
"We anticipate with approximately $750,000 fewer dollars, we will look at staffing cuts, service cuts," Thomas echoed.
Saint Mary’s Hospital President Dr. Brian Davidson was in Denver last month showing his support for rural hospitals in the state.
Those on Medicaid would see the biggest difference.
"It's very difficult in this community if you have Medicare or Medicaid to find a physician, and we think this will only make it worse if these things take place," Thomas said.
If these cuts take place, Community Hospital would receive fewer dollars for taking care of the same amount of patients.
"We're already the ninth most expensive county in the country for healthcare. Now you throw in less reimbursement for Medicaid, it's just going to put more and more pressure on the businesses in town when it comes to the cost of healthcare," Thomas said.
Legislation is being proposed that would negate the cuts that are being proposed. It has bi-partisan support in both chambers.
Thirteen Colorado hospitals will see a cut of more than $5 million and six face a reduction of more than $10 million.