Officials: COVID a financial hammer on New Mexico hospitals

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The pandemic is financially stressing New Mexico hospitals because the money they get for treating COVID-19 patients doesn’t keep pace with rising costs, officials said.

New Mexico Hospital Association President and CEO Troy Clark said it’s incorrect to think that hospitals are doing OK financially because they’re full. He said that assumption doesn’t take into account that federal relief provided hospitals hasn’t made up for reimbursement shortfalls, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

“Medicare pays you what Medicare pays you; Medicaid pays you what Medicaid pays you; commercial insurance payments are renegotiated every one to three years, but you don’t renegotiate every week when costs go up,” he said.

University of New Mexico Hospital CEO Kate Becker said the hospital’s expenses have outpaced revenues by $4.6 million for the fiscal year now half over.

Becker cited reimbursement s haven’t kept up with rising staff and supply costs

It doesn’t help that many COVID-19 patients currently don’t require ICU beds but still need costly care elsewhere in the hospital.

“But a lot of the revenues generated by those patients are not equivalent to some of the revenues we were seeing last year when the mix was more folks in intensive care,” she said.