FARMINGTON — A study conducted by NerdWallet.com recently named San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington the most affordable hospital in New Mexico.
Using the 100 most common treatments, the study looked at Medicare spending data from fiscal year 2011 at the 32 hospitals in the state, said Napala Pratini, health analyst for the San Francisco-based health care consumer website.
"The study was conducted in a number of different states," she said in a phone interview last week.
Pratini added that the 2011 Medicare numbers were the most recent data available.
The study was designed to promote consumer awareness about health care options and provide a guide for value, Pratini said.
Pratini said the study also took into account patient satisfaction surveys, but those findings had no bearing on the ranking of the hospitals. San Juan Regional Medical Center had a 67 percent patient satisfaction rating, according to NerdWallet.
San Juan Regional Medical Center has consistently fared well in studies and surveys like the ones performed by NerdWallet, said Mike Philips, the hospital's chief strategy officer.
"We are a community hospital, and, consciously, we want to keep our rates as affordable as possible," he said in a phone interview.
He said since the hospital is community-owned, it actively works to keep its rates affordable.
Pratini said another focus of the study is to increase consumer knowledge about health care facilities and let consumers know they have choices in health care.
She said Nerdwallet.com has a "Best Hospital" link, and people can find rankings of hospitals in other areas and states based on the same data used to rank San Juan Regional Medical Center.
"The study is to raise awareness about hospital costs and prices. That's something people don't think about all the time," she said.
Philips said the hospital recognizes patients have choices.
"Choice is good. The patient should get involved in their own health care and look for the highest quality possible," he said.
Among the other survey results from NerdWallet, San Juan Regional Medical Center had the highest marks in doctors communicating well with their patients. The website states the hospital has a 78 percent patient satisfaction rate for doctors communicating well with patients.
"We work with physicians to improve the quality for the patients' experience. We realize patients have a choice, and we want them to choose us," Philips said.
Phillips said when the hospital recruits doctors to come to the area, he is honest about the community and tells people many amenities found in large cities aren't part of the landscape here.
"If you like a high desert climate, if you like the mountains, if you like what we have to offer, then this is slice of heaven," he said.Erny Zah is The Daily Times business editor. He can be reached at 505-564-4638. and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @ernyzah on Twitter.