Denver Health and Denver City Council Committee Advance Efforts for Sustainable Funding for the City’s Safety Net Health System

June 5, 2024

DENVER — After an extensive stakeholder input process that included leaders from more than 100 business and nonprofit, government and community organizations and began in fall 2023, today Denver Health CEO Donna Lynne appeared before the Safety, Housing, Education and Homelessness Committee of the Denver City Council to ask city leaders to advance a ballot initiative to the November 2024 election ballot seeking additional funding for the health system.

The measure calls for a sales and use tax rate of 0.34% and dedicates the revenue derived from the tax rate to fund services provided by Denver Health; this increase is equivalent to 3.4 cents on every $10 purchase. The full City Council must still approve referring this measure to the November ballot, presumably by later this month.

The measure is one of many efforts the health system, under Lynne’s leadership, has taken to create financial stability for the city’s safety net hospital, community health centers and other services. In thanking the committee, Lynne shared a closer look at operating expenses attributed to a patient population of 280,000 that provided 1.3 million visits last year.

“It’s common for safety net hospitals throughout the country to receive dedicated funding from public initiatives like this,” Lynne said. “I’m grateful that city leaders recognize the value that Denver Health brings to patients and the entire Denver community and the urgent need for financial support.”

In addition to a Level One trauma center, three emergency rooms and a hospital with 550 beds, Denver Health:

  • Provides medical, mental health and dental care to Denver Public Schools students in 19 school-based health centers
  • Serves the community with necessary preventive care through the Public Health Institute at Denver Health
  • Offers a 24/7 NurseLine
  • Operates 10 community health centers and four mobile health centers
  • Delivers more than 80,000 mental health services
  • Responds to nearly 130,000 911 calls for emergency medical services each year

Council President Jamie Torres and Councilwoman Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez co-sponsored the bill.

“Denver Health is a central asset to the Denver community and it’s not an institution that should ever be pushed to the brink of closing services and clinics,” said Council President Torres. “If we can help Denver Health as a whole community, we must. They are not just our safety-net hospital, they are our Trauma 1 facility for all of Denver and even for our first responders. They are also the only health system that keeps stepping up when our residents in greatest need require medical attention, including our kids through the school-based clinics. Denver Health has been there for us, it’s time we are there for them.”

“Our communities deserve to have access to quality health care and Denver Health should be equipped with the resources necessary to serve the people of Denver,” said Councilwoman Gonzales-Gutierrez. “It is our most vulnerable residents that fall through the cracks when it comes to accessing services like preventive and behavioral health care, and Denver Health has been there as our safety net to catch those in most need that may not have the means to afford health care services. This is one way that we can help our partners at Denver Health so that they can continue to help the people of Denver.”

In 2023, Denver Health provided the residents of Denver County with more than $102 million in uncompensated care, which is projected to reach $124 million in 2025.


About Denver Health

Denver Health is a comprehensive health and hospital system that provides high-quality care and proudly serves as the city’s safety net hospital. For more than 160 years, Denver Health has been guided by its mission to serve the people of Denver, to educate the next generation of health care professionals and to engage in research and community partnerships to better deliver the health care needs of our patients while strengthening our community.