The University of New Mexico Hospital has been ranked third in the nation by Consumer Reports in providing conservative patient care in a study of more than 4.7 million Medicare patients at 2,878 hospitals.

 The report is based on a study conducted by Dartmouth Medical School from 2001-2005 and says that treating patients conservatively results in patients spending fewer days in the hospital, fewer days in an intensive care unit, and with fewer physician visits with more of an emphasis on primary care.

According to Consumer Reports, the study also found that patients with serious conditions who are treated aggressively for their illnesses with more tests and procedures, more specialists, and more days in the hospital, don’t live longer or enjoy a better quality of life than those who receive more conservative treatment. The Dartmouth researchers also found that patients treated most aggressively are at increased risk of infections and other medical errors that come from uncoordinated care, such as doctors prescribing drugs that duplicate or interact with other drugs. They also tend to receive poorer care, spend a lot more money for co-payments, and are the least satisfied with their health care.

“We are very pleased that the Dartmouth study has confirmed something that we have known for a long time,” said Dr. Paul Roth, UNM executive vice president for Health Sciences. “As a teaching facility, we put into practice what we teach in delivery of evidence-based medicine - making decisions on treatment based on scientifically proven principles.”

Steve McKernan, CEO of UNM Hospitals, added, “The physicians from the UNM School Medicine and our hospital medical staff work closely to manage the care of our patients. The conservative approach that we have taken has paid off by reducing the number of days that patients have to be hospitalized. Being recognized as the third best in the way we manage patient care is a point of pride for all of UNM Hospital’s 5,400 employees.”

Consumer Reports also notes that an approach that dictates more sensible spending on tests and treatments could reduce the growing cost of health care in the U.S. by 20 to 30 percent, without affecting the overall quality of care. The list of the top ten most conservative hospitals and the top ten most aggressive hospitals can be found at:http://money.aol.com/insurance/most-aggressive-and-conservative-medical-centers?icid=100214839x1203842607x1200154160

UNM hospital is a 430 bed facility that is New Mexico’s leading teaching hospital and is the safety net for Bernalillo County residents. It is the flagship hospital for the UNM hospital system which includes UNM Children’s Hospital, UNM Carrie Tingley Hospital, the UNM Psychiatric Center and the UNM Children’s Psychiatric Center. Last year, UNM hospitals cared for 26,668 inpatients, and handled nearly 500,000 clinic visits by its outpatients.


Contact: Sam Giammo, 272-3322