RMCH announces plan to become a critical access hospital

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GALLUP, N.M. –Rehoboth McKinley Christian Hospital in Gallup is in the process of applying to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to become a Critical Access Hospital. 

To qualify, RMCH will decrease hospital patient beds from 49 to 25. Hospital officials said the 25 will include ICU, Medical, Surgical, and Pediatric beds. 

RMCH CEO Robert Whitaker said, if approved, this will change how Medicare and Medicaid reimburse the hospital, putting them in a better financial situation and allowing them to better care for patients and staff. 

He also said RMCH will add skilled nursing care through swing bed services and added that the change will not require the hospital to cut back on staff or current services. 

Whitaker said he expects CMS to come to a decision within eight months. RMCH will hold community events and town halls both in and outside the hospital during that time to make everyone aware of what a critical access hospital is and what it would provide for the people of Gallup.  

The Community Health Action Group in Gallup shared the following statement with KOB 4, in response to the hospital’s announcement Monday. It reads in part:

“We received news that the hospital, RMCH, will be applying for Critical Access designation.  We look forward to learning more about how this designation will impact our community and the care that RMCH provides. Importantly, we would like to see how the community can support the hospital in this transition. 

We particularly welcome that CEO Whitaker will be organizing town halls. These are an opportunity to encourage honest dialogue and questions. The trust of the community has been badly worn, and the dialogue can be a path to healing and understanding.”