LAS VEGAS, N.M. (KRQE) –  The Attorney General’s Office is suing the Alta Vista Regional Medical Center. The office alleged the hospital has been putting profits over its patients.

The charges include overcharging, never sending bills to patients but sending them straight to collections, and charging a person for medical expenses a year after his death. 

New Mexico State Attorney General (AG) Hector Balderas said evidence against the Tennessee-owned medical center has been piling up for years.

“For several years, I have been receiving complaints from both patients and doctors that really believe that that hospital is delivering inadequate care,” Balderas said.

The AG said their findings showed the hospital has been continuously advertising services to its patients that they could not, or did not, have the adequate resources or personnel to provide.

“I’m most concerned about pregnant patients having to drive hundreds of miles and then that hospital not offer OBGYN services,” added Balderas.

Court records showed the hospital closed its obstetrician services back in June after its only OBGYN passed away a month prior. However, the lawsuit claimed the facility continued advertising these services despite having no employee to conduct the services.

“They weren’t hiring competent license professionals, and so, they were cutting corners, and that will be part of the litigation and the discovery that we look at,” added Balderas.

On top of the claims, Balderas explained the hospital was overcharging for its services. In one instance, charging a patient $40,000 for an hour-and-a-half visit to the facility and never being admitted to the hospital. Another charge in the lawsuit alleged the facility charged a family for services for their dead relative.

The AG’s Office said the problem is the hospital said they saw the patient a year after his death. 

“We believe they are violating state law, that they are abusing the system, and that they are putting profits before patients, and it’s time to take them to court. Additional allegations against the hospital also question the cleanliness of the facility after the State Department of Health found blood on hospital walls, dirt, and piles of trash around the facility.

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A spokesperson for the hospital said they are reviewing the allegations but claimed the AG’s Office did not reach out to them prior to filing the lawsuit.