Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Hospital, heal thyself.

Byline: Winthrop Quigley Journal Staff Writer

Socorro medical center reverses failing health with dose of sacrifice, innovation

SOCORRO Sometimes things have to go very wrong before they can go very right. Just look at Socorro General Hospital. Changes in Medicare regulations in 1996 cost Socorro General $500 per Medicare admission; Medicare accounts for 30 percent of the payments the hospital receives in a year. On top of that, a computer system failure kept Socorro General from billing $300,000 in services.

Then the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, while providing a $150,000 annual improvement in revenues, also took away $400,000 in payments over five years.

In 1998, Socorro General lost its surgeon and with him the revenue he generated.

By year end 1999, the hospital suffered $1 million in losses a negative 5.8 percent operating margin.

A lot can happen in a year. …

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