New Mexico AG now investigating troubled Gallup hospital

[anvplayer video=”5158450″ station=”998122″]

GALLUP, N.M. — The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office is investigating Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services.

A representative says the investigation can be triggered by any number of factors, including failure to comply with registration requirements.

RMCH was recently fined $100 because of its failure to register as a charitable organization during the 2021 tax year. For more than five months, the hospital’s status was listed as “delinquent” – and not for the first time.

According to state records, RMCH has failed to register as a charitable organization seven times since 2009.

The Community Health Action Group in Gallup says it’s been asking the state in and address hospital concerns for a while.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that this is a first step towards understanding the fundamental issues that are plaguing our hospital at the moment,” said Connie Liu with CHAG. “So I’m glad that they’re taking the step to investigate.”

Robert Whitaker, the RMCHCS CEO, sent KOB 4 a statement attributing the hospital’s failure to “some turnover in the finance department.”

As soon as they became aware an extension had not been required, they reportedly called the state. RMCH’s status as a charitable organization was reinstated in December, and the deadline to file registration documents was pushed out to March 30.

“This in no way impacts or affects the care RMCH provides its patients,” Whitaker said.

“What I’m most concerned about is that we’ve seen repeated instances that the hospital doesn’t have the basic capacity at the moment to perform basic functions,” Liu said.

In addition to the investigation, RMCHCS was also recently placed on a one-year probation by the New Mexico Medical Society, following the hospital’s failure to pass on nearly a million dollars in grant funding to continuing medical education programs.

The probation limits the type of funding the hospital can use to support the CME-accredited activities they offer and requires them to send in monthly financial statements, to make sure they’re paying back everything they owe.

In a statement, Whitaker confirmed the probation, saying they have worked closely with NMMS and they have been very helpful through this process.