Gallup hospital workers call for new management
GALLUP, N.M. – The Community Health Action Group in Gallup estimates a 60% turnover for Rehoboth McKinley Christian Hospital nurses, and 40% for permanent physicians in the past two years. That’s after the Community Hospital Organization (CHC) took over in 2020.
Many say they left due to safety concerns, like requiring patients to ring a bell if they need services.
"Some of the beds in the ER either had failing brakes, so that if a patient were to sit down, the brake mechanism will fail, and there’s that potential for a fall," said Dylan Solomon, former emergency room director for RMCH. "Not to mention, the equipment as far as monitors, where it shows their vital signs, those needed upgrades."
Solomon told KOB 4 he was fired in January of this year without explanation. Others left RMCH voluntarily, saying they felt like they had no other choice. Multiple issues have been reported to upper management, but very few have been addressed.
"I just felt like our concerns were just dismissed and not heard," said former labor and delivery nurse Sara Pikaart. "There was zero, ‘what would it take for us to keep you here?’ There was zero, ‘I’m so sorry to hear that,’ and there was definitely no offer of an exit interview."
"The fact that they told us that they did exit interviews on everyone was just flat out a lie," said Gwen Wilson, a retired physician’s assistant for RMCH.
McKinley County commissioners decided to temporarily pull CHC’s lease this week, while they address community concerns.
"Within six months, we want these answers, we want to accomplish these things and get that information back to the community," said commissioner and Board Chairman Billy Moore.
"Our group is really grateful to the county commissioners,” said local physician and community organizer Dr. Connie Liu. “We think that this is an expression of their posture of listening to the community and hearing their concerns."
While plans for any solutions are unclear at this point, some say the damage is far too great to correct in six months. They are calling for new local leadership now.
"We need to have CHC’s contract terminated,” Solomon said. “Ulterior motives have somehow made it to where it’s profits over patients, when it should be patients over profits. This is our community, we need to protect it, and the biggest thing that I would say to CHC is, ‘shame on you. Shame on you for coming and basically under the guise of being here to help, your ulterior motives were merely to make a profit.’"
Community members gather every Wednesday afternoon to protest RMCH leadership. That happens from 3:30-5:00 p.m. at the corner of Boardman and College Dr.
The hospital’s board of trustees is Wednesday night, but reportedly cancelled the portion that is open to the public.
KOB 4 reached out to hospital officials for comment, but did not hear back.