The Birth Center Choice will Remain Available for Pregnant Women

Taos Health Systems and the Northern New Mexico Birth Center (NNMBC) are pleased to announce pregnant women will continue to have the option of delivering their babies at the birth center.

The plan is to move Women’s Health Institute into the Birth Center to allow the Certified Nurse Midwives the ability to deliver in the birthing rooms.

The Midwives and Board of NNMBC and have been dreaming and envisioning a future for the Birth Center that includes CNMs with a viable business model for years. As a result of multiple productive brainstorming sessions between Taos Health Systems and the Northern New Mexico Birth Center it has been decided that Women’s Health Institute will be moving their clinic into the former NNMBC building and beginning a Birth Center accredited by Commission for Accreditation of Birth Centers (CABC). This ensures that The Women’s Health Institute Birth Center will uphold the nationally recognized Midwives Model of Care for freestanding birth centers.

“We are deeply grateful to the care providers of WHI, administration and Board of Taos Health Systems,” said Kiersten Figurski, LM, CPM, Joan Norris, LM, CPM, and the NNMBC Board of Directors, “for ensuring the continued option of Birth Center birth for the families in Northern New Mexico. This is history in the making!”

“We’re really excited about this decision because it means women still have options to deliver at the Birth Center. We have two Certified Nurse Midwives already offering holistic approaches to birthing mothers, at Women’s Health Institute,” says Michael Bone, Executive Director of the Taos Health Systems Practices. “They currently deliver at the hospital’s birthing suites; however, now they can deliver at the Birth Center. It would also allow the CNMs to incorporate more integrated and complimentary therapies into the pregnancy and birth.”

Choosing the right provider to deliver babies depends on a number of factors, including what kind of experience wanted, where to give birth, whether the pregnancy is normal or high risk, and what insurances will pay for.

The American Association of Birth Centers defines a birth center as “a homelike facility, existing within a healthcare system with a program of care designed in the wellness model of pregnancy and birth. Birth centers are guided by principles of prevention, sensitivity, safety, appropriate medical intervention, and cost effectiveness. Birth centers provide family-centered care for healthy women before, during and after normal pregnancy, labor and birth.”

Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) are advanced-practice registered nurses who provide counseling and care during pre-conception, pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. They’re holistic practitioners who can offer a variety of options and seeks to eliminate or minimize unnecessary interventions. They are a vital part of the health care team at Women’s Health Institute and work closely with the OB/GYNs.

In addition to the care they give patients before, during, and after pregnancy and childbirth, CNMs provide routine gynecological services – including reproductive health visits, regular gynecologic care (i.e., annual exams) and peri-/post-menopausal care.

Patient Satisfaction is Directly Linked to Hospital Reimbursements

No one wants to have to stay in the hospital overnight, but if you’ve ever had to you probably remember a few things: pain, the physicians and nurses who were trying to keep that pain tolerable, a call bell, and nurses checking on you, listening to your questions and explaining things in ways you understood. Hopefully, when it was time to go home the hospital staff made sure you had all the information and help you needed to avoid a relapse and readmission, along with written instructions to consult about symptoms, problems, and how to care for yourself. After your stay, maybe you were sent a survey in the mail a week or two after you were home. Did you fill out the survey and return it, or did you toss it in the trash can not wanting to be bothered?

Because of the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), hospital reimbursements are significantly impacted by HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) scores. HCAHPS is a hospital survey instrument and data collection methodology for measuring patients' perceptions of their hospital experience. This means that patients can report and rate their hospital experiences, which provides valuable feedback to future patients and the hospital. It is believed that patient satisfaction will significantly define the future of healthcare in the United States.

At Holy Cross Hospital, we work hard to provide excellent patient care, and that HCAHPS survey is very important to us. It can impact any future experience you might have. This feedback is important because the survey results can provide invaluable information about the overall hospital experience for the patient. It helps us learn our strengths and weaknesses. It can also pinpoint areas of patient satisfaction success and those that need improvement, ultimately leading to improvement in overall patient satisfaction and the delivery of quality healthcare to our community.

We partner with Avatar, a company that conducts patient satisfaction surveys. Like many hospitals, we view patient satisfaction as a key tool in our quality improvement processes. In addition, the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services links part of a hospital’s payment to its performance on a set of quality measures. They also provide significant financial incentives for hospitals to score well in the HCAHPS survey. The program allows CMS to collect from hospitals up to 1% of their CMS reimbursement monies in 2013, and 0.25% from 2014 to 2017, and redistribute that money to different hospitals according to performance in 12 clinical process of care domains. The process of care domains include core measure indicators associated with heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, pneumonia and the Surgical Care Improvement Project and eight patient satisfaction dimensions (HCAHPS). Hospital reimbursement is determined by the clinical process of care scores, which account for 70% of the formula, and the HCAHPS scores, which carry a 30% weight. This means that the better we perform, the more money we are likely to receive.

The HCAHPS patient satisfaction program gives consumers an opportunity to provide CMS with information about the patient experience, and how well the facility performed in regard to pain control, promptness of care delivery, communication, discharge instructions, room and facility cleanliness, and whether the patients felt they were treated with courtesy and respect.

Over the last few years, Holy Cross Hospital administration and staff have worked hard to educate patients on the importance of completing the survey and returning it, as well as improving on the patient experience. Our scores have been steadily increasing, and we continue to work hard to improve more. But we cannot know if you were happy with your care or if we can improve your satisfaction unless you tell us. By completing the Avatar survey, sharing your feedback on how we’re doing, and offering suggestions for improvement you are not only helping us improve our scores, you help us become better health care providers.


Patient Testimonial: Karen, Cancer Patient

During the interview both Karen, cancer patient, and her sister Christine were available to tell us about their experience.

Karen: I had some supports last year, when I was first diagnosed with cancer and now we are getting more support again this year because I have gone into remission. The support last year was really great, we had food vouchers and gas vouchers.

Christine: Last year I took a year of leave of absence from work to help her, so everything they did for us really helped. It included Gas cards and Food vouchers. The moral support is really helpful too; talking to Jason you don't feel like you are so alone in it. I think there are very few people you talk to anymore who are not affected by cancer; either a friend, a family member, or themselves. It’s way prevalent, and I don’t think most of us realize it. The gas is incredible, because you either get a hotel room or you drive back to Taos and spend as much money driving back and forth, plus it gets so strenuous.

Karen: Going through this even a year ago, it was such a shock, and you feel like you're the only one its ever happened to or your family member is the only one its ever happened to. And then you get together in a group like that and you realize there's all these survivors. There's all of these people who have had family members this has happened to. Just having that support and the program for that you realize you are not as alone.

Health Insurance Exchanges

Are you Uninsured?

Under the new Affordable Care Act, beginning in January 2014 all Americans will be eligible for and are required to have health insurance.

Open Enrollment for Health Exchange ends March 31st. People need to enroll by March 15th in order for benefits to start on April 1, and avoid a tax penalty.

The New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange will make it easy to find an affordable plan. Visit the Holy Cross Hospital Community Service Office to learn more and enroll in a plan that meets your needs.

Enrollment Office Hours

Holy Cross Hospital
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday
8:00 am - 4:30 pm
(575) 751-5848

Women's Health Institute
7:30 am - 2:00 pm
(575) 758-5001

Walk-ins accepted

Learn more about the Affordable Care Act.

To schedule an appointment:
Call: Community Services Office
(575) 751-5764

2013 Holy Cross Hospital Updates

In an effort to help our community understand the changes happening in health care and at the hospital, we will be posting regular updates from the administration at Holy Cross Hospital to help share some internal information with the public.

Watch the videos

If you have a question you would like answered, please email We will answer your questions as quickly as possible.

The Changing Face of American Health Care

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that was passed in March 2010 is changing health care in America. Among other things, the law is already having an enormous impact on the way health care is funded.

We know that people have a lot of questions about what's happening in health care and at the hospital. We've put together this article to help educate you about the changes happening at Holy Cross Hospital.

Read the article

Community Health Needs Assesment

Taos Health Systems recently completed an assessment of health needs for residents in Taos County. We have also developed a plan for using its services to respond to the significant community needs identified in the report.  A copy of the report is available for your review here and is available for inspection and copying in the hospital’s administrative office, M-F, 9 am to 4 pm.

Taos Health Systems will revise its implementation efforts each year and undertake a new study to revise this report in two to three years. Your review is encouraged and submission of comments for consideration is welcomed.  Please take the time to review the needs identified in the report and help the hospital take actions to make improvements resulting in Taos County being an increasingly healthy place to live.

Follow this link to view the report.

For further information please contact Kyra Ryan in the Health Outreach Department at (575) 751-8929.

Holy Cross Hospital is here for you.