McKinley County buys RMCHCS properties

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GALLUP, N.M. — As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, the entire Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services complex is property of McKinley County. The county manager told KOB 4 they’ve been working toward this purchase for months, but couldn’t wait any longer to make this emergency decision.

“If something wasn’t made, the hospital would run out of money, and the doors would be closed,” said McKinley County Manager Anthony Dimas Jr.

McKinley County already purchased the hospital property, and for just under $6.8 million, they now have the RMCHCS East Campus, Red Rock Clinic, and College Clinic.

County leaders also forgave nearly $2 million the hospital owed in rent – immediately freeing up funds to keep it running.

“They’ve given down payments, and so they’ve made some cash available to us today,” said Robert Whitaker, CEO of RMCHCS.

He told KOB 4 that was $1,780,000.

“A lot of those funds are going to go to help pay vendors who have been waiting for payment and whose services we rely on at the hospital,” said Bill Lee, RMCHCS hospital board chairman “We thank them for being patient with us as well.”

Lee also said they’re going to use it to pay off some liabilities from a previous administration, and paying that off will free up another million for the hospital down the road. He expects to close on the private properties purchased by McKinley County as soon as next week.

Another change is in the works, too. The Community Hospital Corporation, based in Texas, has been managing RMCHCS, but they will transition into a consulting role – something the community has pushed for.

“This really feels like a turning point, because we’ve been asking all along for things that we think will improve the community’s relationship with the hospital,” said Dr. Connie Liu, a local physician and lead organizer for Community Health Action Group. “A hospital administration and a county that are working hand in hand with the community, listening and communication, are really all things that I think will help the hospital to survive and to really thrive.”

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