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Six N.M. Hospitals Face Fines For Safety

Zahid Javali via CC

Hundreds of hospitals around the country—even the famous Mayo Clinic—are being fined in 2016 because of safety concerns, and six in New Mexico will be facing that fine, too.

It’s part of a new program under the Affordable Care Act: The government looks at on-site infections, sepsis and other complications at hospitals, and then cuts Medicare payments by 1 percent for the places with the highest rates.

Credit Rashad Mahmood / KUNM
These N.M. hospitals were fined by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2015 and 2016. The HealthInsight rankings are percentiles.


Anne Timmins said the goal is for hospitals to be rewarded for quality over quantity. She’s the quality improvement director at HealthInsight New Mexico, the nonprofit contracted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Department of Health to help get facilities back on track.

"For the infections work in particular, we’re looking at improving hand-washing," Timmins said. "We’re looking at taking central lines out when they’re not needed, taking catheters out when they’re not needed."

Timmins said there are often more hospital-acquired conditions in facilities that perform more complex procedures. "Bear in mind that the hospitals that are on this list are the larger hospitals in the state that do take more complex patients," she said, "and not all hospitals do everything that everybody needs."

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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