A rural Colorado hospital was down to its last dollar. This is how it came back. | SteamboatToday.com

A rural Colorado hospital was down to its last dollar. This is how it came back.

As small-town hospitals across the state struggle, Memorial Regional Health’s financial rebound shows how it is possible — but also perhaps painful — to get back into the black

John Ingold
Colorado Sun
Memorial Regional Health hospital registered nurse, Shar Rice, visits with a patient, Feb. 2, 2023, in Craig
Hugh Carey/Colorado Sun

At the end of 2019, Memorial Regional Health reached a crisis.

The hospital in Craig is the sole hospital in Moffat County, a vital lifeline to health care services in a corner of the state that is nearly the size of Connecticut. But, as the year came to a close, the hospital was staring at a grim number in its bank account: It had zero days cash-on-hand left.

“We were figuring out what bills to pay so we would have money in the bank to pay our employees,” said Jennifer Riley, who was then the hospital’s chief operating officer and is now its CEO. “We never got to the point where we were saying we’re not going to make payroll. But it was close.”

The resulting cuts to ease the budget shortfall were beyond painful, Riley said. The hospital changed how it staffs its emergency department. It shut down its labor and delivery department, meaning patients would have to drive close to an hour or more to have their babies delivered, over sometimes snowpacked roads.

People in the community grieved — and seethed — at the cuts.

Read more at ColoradoSun.com.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.