Editorial

Things to watch in 2019: Hospital on life support

Taos News editorial team
Posted 1/10/19

It’s difficult to go long in Taos without at least one visit to Holy Cross Hospital. But as the rural medical facility plans to draw on additional tax support from the Taos community in the …

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Editorial

Things to watch in 2019: Hospital on life support

Posted

It’s difficult to go long in Taos without at least one visit to Holy Cross Hospital. But as the rural medical facility plans to draw on additional tax support from the Taos community in the future, even those who seek medical services elsewhere have reason to watch how their money is being used.

The medical facility first started dipping into county mill levy funds in February 2018 after a history of financial mismanagement problems and the simultaneous introduction of a new billing system led to a crisis.

This year, hospital CEO Bill Patten has assured the public that the hospital is getting back on track, citing an improving financial picture. He called the hiring of a new billing consultant in December “the last step” in resolving the billing problems that contributed to the layoff of more than a dozen employees during the worst of the crisis in early 2018.

Patten himself has faced serious pressure from the community, especially from longtime connections to the medical community and Holy Cross itself, with many calling on him to resign, or his board to force the issue.

Still, Patten has also told the public that he plans to approach the county for even more tax support in the future, citing other rural hospitals throughout the state that are also unable to stay afloat on their own. The majority of Holy Cross patients pay the hospital through Medicare and Medicaid, which pays far less for services than private insurance.

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