Ascension Health announced it would close its Bedford hospital only days after posting a fiscal year, system-wide loss of $1.8 billion that came largely as a result of investment losses that exceeded $1 billion.

While a hospital industry spokesman said the Bedford hospital’s closure was prompted, at least in part, by a tight labor market, a health care industry critic and some community members laid at least part of the blame at Ascension’s feet, saying the Catholic nonprofit failed to make proper investments and cared more about money than mission.

Ascension, based in St. Louis, declined requests for interviews to discuss why it decided to close St. Vincent Dunn Hospital, which formerly served as the county hospital and dates back to 1941.

The health system in September said it lost $1.8 billion for the year that ended June 30, compared to a profit of nearly $5.7 billion the prior year. Ascension lost nearly $900 million from its health care operations, in part because wages and salaries rose by $1.2 billion from the prior year. However, the health system also saw a roughly $7 billion swing in its non health care-related investments: Ascension lost about $1 billion on its investments this year. Last year, the investments generated a profit of nearly $6 billion.

Put another way: Ascension in the last year lost more money on investments than on its health care operations.

Ascension facilities closing after loss

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