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Alta Vista Charges

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HaroldHill
User offline. Last seen 1 week 4 days ago. Offline
Joined: 10/26/2010

In the last three weeks, the Santa Fe New Mexican has run two major stories related to medical care and prices at Alta Vista Regional Hospital and in its parent company, Community Health Systems, Inc. 

The first story concerned fines of nearly $100 million assessed on the parent company to settle a variety of legal cases involving referrals for service and resulting unnecessary charges for services.  The second story involved high chargess by many hospitals in New Mexico to patients who do not have insurance.  Summaries of those stories are below.

UNNECESSARY ADMISSIONS

The first story concerned fines of nearly $100 million assessed on the parent company to settle a variety of legal cases involving referrals for service and resulting unnecessary charges for services.

The charges arose out of wistleblower complaints by employees of the chain's hospitals in nine states.  The charges were subsequently investigated throughout the chain, with improper referrals and charges identified in nearly 120 hospitals.  The wistleblowers will share in the fines paid.

The findings were that throughout the chain hospitals were encouraged to inflate their hospital admissions of Medicare, Medicare, and U.S. military health system clients (primarily patients 65 years of age or older older.

HIGH CHARGES FOR UNINSURED PATIENTS

The second story involved high chargess by many hospitals in New Mexico to patients who do not have insurance.

Alta Vista charged to second most of the hospitals studied for outpatient treatment, charging more than 8-1/2 times the Medicare rate for treatment.  The hospital was charged the second most for inpatient treatment, at well over 3 times the Medicare rate.

In both categories, Alta Vista was significantly more expensive for uninsured patients than the state average or the amount charged by Christus-St. Vincent in Santa fe.

The date reported was from charges in 2012 and was gathered under provisions of the Affordable Care Act (so-called Obama Care) to help consumers comparison shop for medical services.

This story contained comparison figures for 28 New Mexico hospitals for inpatient care and 25 hospitals for outpatient care.  Nearly 1/4 of New Mexicans are uninsured.