Denver Emergency Rooms

April 2017

There are 46 Emergency Rooms in Denver
Feel Better?

Article by Karin Hall, CEO - Senior Resource Guide

Green Tear Drop indicates a major Hospital with an emergency room
Yellow Tear Drop indicates a free standing or satellite emergency room
Red Tear Drop indicates a micro-hospital with an emergency room

First of all the map above is not intended to help you find an emergency room during an actual emergency. If you are having a life threatening emergency call 9-1-1.

Denver, Colorado – Emergency Rooms in the Denver metro area are competing for your ill-fortune. There are 46 of them; but, they are growing so fast, Google Maps cannot do them justice.

I started with a Google search on “emergency room Denver” to find emergency rooms in the “Denver metro area”. Last February, 10 emergency rooms showed up on Google Maps; and, not all were in Denver; but, I also knew that there were other emergency rooms in the area.

So, I searched “emergency room ‘city’ name” for every city in the Denver metro area. This yielded about 32 emergency rooms. But, I still knew of some that I had seen while driving that were not showing up in the Google search.

So, my next step was to get up early on a Saturday morning that February and actually drive around the Denver business hub looking for emergency rooms I knew existed but were not showing up in Google Maps. With this process, the count had risen to 45 ER’s.

Then in March, the Columbine Courier reported the old FunPlex was being torn down in south Jeffco and a new emergency room was going to be built at that location. With this latest information, I knew it was time to share this story in an attempt to understand why we have 46 emergency rooms in the Denver area; particularly when so much of rural Colorado is under-served with healthcare and talks of cuts to rural hospitals across Colorado.

My “Denver metro area” search refers to Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Denver, and Jefferson Counties. For Douglas County, I am only looking at emergency room locations in the cities of Highlands Ranch, Parker and Lone Tree because these cities are part of the “Denver metro area business hub.”

So why are hospitals building so many free standing or satellite emergency rooms in the Denver area?

At the urging of hospital boards (both for-profit and non-profit hospitals), Wall Street healthcare investors and healthcare marketing strategy companies; local hospitals are being encouraged to “build, baby build.” Why? It is simple. With MORE emergency room locations, the hospitals make more money.

If you look at the promotion from these hospitals and satellite emergency room locations; they say they are doing this for the community to have “more and better access to emergency room services.” Why? They say they want to give consumers the convenience of a near-by emergency room; but, actually it is a money grab for healthcare dollars.

Now let’s really pull the curtains back on this proliferation of emergency rooms

This map above shows 31 satellite and micro-hospitals with emergency rooms. I did some research on costs and found:

  • 6 micro-hospitals with emergency rooms are estimated to cost $30 million each to build as per Advisory Board = We have 6 in the Denver area and that equals $180 million
  • 25 satellite Emergency Rooms are estimated to cost $10 million each to build and that equals $250 million
  • Land for 31 emergency rooms and micro-hospitals with emergency room – one parcel in Littleton the land sold for $1 million – so 31 locations at $1 million each equals $31 million dollars = $31 million
  • Total the above and you have - $461 million dollars in land and building costs
  • Read that number again - $461 million dollars invested in brick and mortar satellite and micro-hospital emergency rooms serving only 6 counties in the Denver metro area. And, our legislators are looking at cutting support for rural Colorado hospitals in the Colorado State Budget?
  • And that $461 million build cost does not included the massive operating costs

And what does it cost to build a full hospital?

So the $538 million number above is not counting the emergency rooms in full hospitals. I began to wonder what it costs to build a full hospital with an emergency room. This information was difficult to find but I found the website Quora. They shared that a big teaching hospital costs $1.5 million dollars per bed to build.

So what is happening in our community and in our great state of Colorado, when we have 46 emergency rooms in the six counties close to Denver, and the rest of rural Colorado is underserved? I suggest you contact your legislator and ask this question.

Find your Colorado Legislator – CLICK HERE

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Posted April 2017 on