Ascension closes Bedford Hospital, reducing competition in the region

Ascension Health announced it would close its Bedford hospital just days after reporting a fiscal year, resulting in a system-wide loss of $1.8 billion largely driven by over $1 billion in investment losses.

While a hospital industry spokesman said the closure of Bedford Hospital was at least partly due to a tight labor market, a health industry critic and some community members placed at least some blame on Ascension’s feet, saying the Catholic nonprofit didn’t do it right Make investments and care more about money than mission.

St. Louis-based Ascension declined interview requests to discuss why it had decided to close St. Vincent Dunn Hospital, which used to serve as the county hospital and dates back to 1941.

The healthcare system said in September that it lost $1.8 billion for the year ended June 30, compared to a profit of nearly $5.7 billion a year earlier. Ascension lost almost $900 million on its healthcare, in part because wages and salaries increased by $1.2 billion from a year earlier. However, the healthcare system also saw an increase of about $7 billion in its non-healthcare investments: Ascension lost about $1 billion in investments that year. Last year, the investments generated a profit of almost $6 billion.