Colorado Springs Memorial Hospital Ordinance Question (November 2011)

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A Colorado Springs Memorial Hospital Ordinance Question was on the November 1, 2011 ballot in the city of Colorado Springs which is in El Paso County.

This measure was approved

  • YES 48,308 (60.52%)Approveda
  • NO 29,130 (36.48%)[1]

The city council voted on August 23 to place this measure on the November ballot. Voters decided if a city ordinance should remain in place which makes residents liable for any financial loses made by the hospital. Hospital personal commented during the council meeting that the uncertainty of the hospital had led to the inability of the hospital to hire doctors and nurses as well as leading to a down ward turn of performance overall at the hospital.[2]

This measure was initially proposed for the April 2011 ballot but it was decided to postpone it until the November election. The reasons given for the postponing of the vote was to better inform the public about the issue, but also the large price tag of changing ownership.[3] This move came after an advocacy group noted at a council meeting that many residents did not know about the issue and pushing the vote this soon would likely lead to a defeat. The goal in moving the date back is to ensure community members understand what the change would mean to them and to the hospital.[4]


The long term goal was to take the Memorial Healthcare system and transfer it to a nonprofit organization which would operate and run the hospital system.[5] The proposed transfer of the hospital system would place it under a separate board and would be free of city controls. The hospital would make payments into a community health fund based on profits for the year. The current mayor of the city, Lionel Rivera, noted that he is hopeful this measure will be approved, but opponents such as Health One see the measure as losing control over the hospital system.[6]

January 25 was the next council meeting which decided officially to put this measure on the April ballot. Most councilors supported the measure and noted that the citizens group which was present at previous meetings also supported it. The hospital had already set up a campaign to promote the measure in anticipation if will be set to a vote. Though the mayor noted that the public's voice will be heard on the issue even if ultimately it does not get referred to a vote.[7]

Additional reading