UCHealth Memorial cuts $1.2 million check to city

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Memorial Hospital announced this week it has provided the city with its third consecutive revenue-sharing payment since 2012, this one amounting to $1.2 million.

According to a Memorial news release, the payment is a result of “steady growth as UCHealth Memorial continues to deliver services recognized and valued by the community.”

The revenue-sharing payments are made each year the hospital experiences earnings in excess of a baseline percentage outlined in UCHealth’s 5-year-old lease of Memorial Hospital from the city. Payments go to the Colorado Springs Health Foundation, which provides grants targeting immediate health care needs in the region.

The lease agreement took effect in October 2012 following voter approval of the system’s ownership model. Memorial Central and Memorial North were formerly city-operated.

“Since then, Memorial has seen record growth in patient care, added numerous specialists and practices, invested heavily in the latest technology, expanded physician training programs through its affiliation with the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and achieved a turnaround in finances, with UCHealth providing more than $3.7 million in revenue-sharing payments to date,” according to the release.

“Given the legacy and history of this hospital’s place in the city, … I think it’s especially exciting to be at an organization that is so deeply committed to the city and helping solve many of the health care challenges faced in the region,” UCHealth Memorial Joel Yuhas told the Business Journal. “It was a check I was happy to write.”

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The system reported an 8 percent increase in hospitalized patients in 2017, which Yuhas attributes to a growing population and the appeal of investments UCHealth has made to keep Memorial competitive, to include evolving its nursing science program, introducing more comprehensive stroke care and applying for Level I trauma accreditation, which could come early next year.

“The increase [in hospitalizations] is due to more and more people choosing UCHealth for their primary and specialty care needs,” he said. “As the population continues to grow, we have to grow along with it. For instance, we’ve expanded the UCHealth Medical Group by 96 physicians in 2017.”

Yuhas said in the news release that the “ongoing investments in the community mean residents have more access to the highest-quality care where they want it, which is close to home.”

Colorado Springs Councilman Merv Bennett, the council’s representative for the lease agreement with UCHealth, said in the release that the payment “shows citizens made the right choice in choosing UCHealth as their partner.

“The city’s agreement with UCHealth has improved health care in the Pikes Peak region and will continue to do so for years to come,” Bennett said. “… Everyone gains from this agreement, whether as a patient at one of UCHealth’s clinics or hospitals or as a citizen enjoying the benefits of foundation funds.”

Yuhas said he foresees perpetual payments.

“Hopefully these [payments] will be sustainable in the future,” Yuhas said. “ We can’t predict the health care landscape of tomorrow … but operationally the hospital continues to grow and, as it continues to be successful financially, it has the ability to share that success with the city.”

Growth in 2017 included:

  • An 8-percent increase in hospitalized patients;
  • The addition of 96 new physicians to the UCHealth Medical Group;
  • The opening of a fifth urgent care center, located in Falcon;
  • Growth in cardiovascular care and technology, including the opening of a hybrid operating room at Memorial Central. Memorial’s heart team also expanded to include surgeons who specialize in complex heart procedures, including aortic root replacement and transcatheter aortic valve replacement.
  • A expansion of the hospital’s neurosciences program, which provides comprehensive stroke care in southern Colorado.