Socorro General Hospital
Cathy Cook | El Defensor Chieftain

The emergency room at the Socorro General Hospital is on track to see over 10,000 patients this year. In 2021, the emergency room saw 9,200 patients, according to the hospital chief executive Veronica Pound.

Pound updated the Socorro County Commissioners on the state of the hospital and the scope of its services at the end of August. She is required to update the Commissioners on the hospital annually, as Socorro County helps support the local hospital with a mill levy.

The mill levy distribution was $250,000 in July and $250,000 in October.

The hospital gave out financial assistance of $1.4 million to patients in 2021. The mill levy goes toward indigent services, so when the financial assistance is adjusted for the mill levy, the dollar amount for the hospital is not quite half a million, said Pound. The mill levy is a tax of $4.25 for every $1,000 of taxable property value and typically provides $1 million per year for the hospital.

The hospital lost $3.8 million on Medicaid and Medicare. The Medicaid reimbursement is approximately 38 to 40 cents per dollar.

Along with the emergency room visits, the outpatient clinic had a little over 17,000 visits, outpatient radiology, operating room and respiratory therapy saw 21,000, there were 518 inpatient visits, 1,300 video visits, 1,800 home visits and 99 babies were delivered last year.

“We are very fortunate in our state to have labor and delivery in Socorro to be able to deliver babies. Without us in the state, we would be from Las Cruces to Albuquerque, 225 miles, with no labor delivery service,” said Pound.

The hospital is a 24-bed critical access hospital. The next closest hospital is in Albuquerque.

The hospital will have four or five new doctors coming to Socorro County who will be taking on new patients. This includes a new MD starting Sept. 1 and a family practice OB starting at the end of September. The hospital is trying to bring on more providers so that patients have more access to care, said Pound.

There are nine open registered nurse positions at the hospital.

“Across the nation, there’s such a shortage, but I’m proud to tell you we have nine new graduates in our community over the next three years and we’re going to do our best to hire all nine of those young people to come to the hospital to work for us. We have two queued up right now to get hired and hopefully a third one coming soon,” Pound told the commissioners.

The hospital is also trying to grow its nursing services and outpatient infusion services, said Pound.