Corporate name confusion delays lawsuit accusing New Mexico hospital of false advertising

New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez has clarified the name of a defendant in a lawsuit that alleges Alta Vista Regional Medical Center in Las Vegas, N.M., engaged in false advertising and overcharging patients, the Taos News reported Feb. 22.

The original complaint, filed in December by Mr. Torrez's predecessor, listed Quorum Health Resources as a defendant and owner of Alta Vista. 

Mr. Torrez filed an amended complaint Feb. 10 clarifying that Quorum Health Resources, which performs a consulting role in the management of Taos, N.M.-based Holy Cross Medical Center, is not a defendant, according to the Taos News.

The amended complaint names Alta Vista's owner, Quorum Health Corp., as a defendant along with San Miguel Hospital Corp., Alta Vista, and 20 "John Doe corporations and limited liability corporations," the newspaper reported. 

New Mexico sued Alta Vista in December under the New Mexico Unfair Practices Act, as well as other state laws. The lawsuit alleges that the hospital routinely advertised services which it could not perform, or only perform "in a substandard manner," according to a Dec. 8 news release from the office of Hector Balderas, who was New Mexico's attorney general at the time. The lawsuit also alleges that the hospital charged "exorbitant amounts" to patients and sued patients who couldn't pay. Quorum Health Corp. is accused of failing or refusing to take action, despite being aware of the management and care issues.

In a statement shared with Becker's, Lauren Rodriguez, communications director for the New Mexico attorney general's office, said when the lawsuit was initially filed, "investigation led us to understand that the initial company listed was the correct organization to name in the complaint."

"Since then," Ms. Rodriguez added, "additional investigation, gained in part from conversations with the corporations, led us to understand that the more correct entity to include in the lawsuit is Quorum Health Corporation, which has a complicated corporate structure through which it conducts business in New Mexico." 

A spokesperson from Holy Cross told the Taos News that the confusion likely stemmed from the fact that Quorum Health Resources was once a division of Quorum Health Corp., but the division was sold in 2021.

A spokesperson for Quorum Health Corp. told Becker's, "We have already begun discussions with the Attorney General's office regarding the allegations in the complaint." 

According to the Taos News, name confusion has delayed the case, which has a hearing scheduled for March 23.


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