Community calls for state to step in at RMCH

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GALLUP, N.M. — Robert Whitaker, the CEO of Rehoboth McKinley Christian Hospital, addressed the Gallup hospital’s dire situation during a recent meeting with the Legislative Health & Human Services Committee.

“There are a lot of – there are some services that we just can’t provide the community, and so people need to go travel to Albuquerque for higher acuity, kind of a higher tertiary care,” Whitaker said.

Whitaker further explained the hospital’s decision to temporarily close the labor and delivery unit this summer, citing a financial analysis of the first seven months of the year.

“We experienced a loss of about $10,000 per birth,” Whitaker said.

He said the hard decisions are part of the overarching goal to make sure Rehoboth McKinley Christian Hospital doesn’t shut down. Meanwhile, concerned community members are calling for the state to step in.

“We really think that the state may be our best hope for turning the situation around,” said Dr. Connie Liu, a local physician and organizer with the Community Health Action Group.

She believes the hospital meets the requirements for the New Mexico Department of Health to legally take the reigns.

“The hospital is losing $800,000 to $1 million a month, with a projected loss of $24 million for this year alone,” Dr. Liu said. “We are concerned that quality and safety are dangerously weak.”

The New Mexico Department of Health sent KOB 4 a statement, saying:

“The NMDOH continues to monitor Rehoboth McKinley’s ongoing challenges and evaluate any possible next steps. As stated before, receivership is not a normal procedure, and they would need to seek a court order to take any action.”

The hospital also sent KOB 4 a statement:

“As we continue to make incremental improvements, we are focusing their efforts on four areas… improving patient outcomes, enhancing the patient experience, care for the caregiver, and reducing the cost of care.”