HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of managed care market intelligence, reports that Colorado Springs, Colo., health systems, Memorial Health System and Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, are expanding facilities and services in the northeastern portion of the city, where there is a better-insured population. According to the new Colorado Springs Market Overview, these moves should provide economic growth that will offset higher rates of uncompensated care from the systems' centrally located flagship hospitals. With a shortage of acute-care bed space in the Colorado Springs market and above-average occupancy rates, the expansion efforts should pay dividends for each health system.
Penrose-St. Francis Health Services opened St. Francis Medical Center in August 2008, as a replacement to Penrose Community Hospital. Penrose Community Hospital will function as an urgent-care facility until the hospital is sold, though the system plans to open a permanent urgent-care facility in the central portion of the city. Urgent-care facilities are in demand, particularly as there is currently a local physician shortage.
City-owned Memorial Health System began its expansion in 2007, including the opening of Memorial Hospital North in the northeastern corner of Colorado Springs. In addition to the new hospital, the system's growth plan also includes attracting physicians to its 123,000-square-foot medical office tower near Memorial North, which is nearly full.
"Both Penrose-St. Francis Health Services and Memorial Health System are hoping that by providing services to better-insured patients in the northern region of the city, they can offset the losses seen from their flagship locations," said Dave Raiford, market analyst with HealthLeaders-InterStudy and the report's author. "Penrose-St. Francis seems to be taking a measured approach with the opening of a replacement facility that puts less risk on the health system. Memorial's move is one of necessity as it is responsible for a majority of the uncompensated care in the Colorado Springs metropolitan statistical area, and carries a heavier Medicaid load than Penrose-St. Francis."
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