I have only been a doctor for seven years, and I have only been in Southwest New Mexico for three. I quickly became confident in and invested in the quality and success of our healthcare delivery systems here. Over time, I realized providers here are leaving, more quickly than new ones arrive. I still hold some hope that we can turn things around, and so wanted to share my thoughts around Gila Regional Medical Center (GRMC) at this time.
To my Friends, Colleagues, and Neighbors:
First: who is responsible? And who is accountable?
I answer the first question with the cliché: we are all in part responsible. To the second question: it is no single person’s or entity’s fault.
Having just read Zach Taylor's reply to my rebuttal of his column, I would like to add a response and then I will cease this thread of dialogue.
Mr. Taylor said: "Moreover, we fully understand that brevity is frequently genius and therefore our op-ed pieces are not lengthy and many other news outlets limit to 150 words or less so we have been conditioned to brevity. Another positive about brevity is the reader is more apt to read a few salient bullet points than a scholarly tome, brevity promotes understanding."
Letter to the Editor:
It was with great dismay and a very heavy heart that I read Commissioner Edward’s recent remarks to us via her letter in the Grant County Beat. I want to attempt to express how disjointed, confusing and contradictory it was but first express how disappointing and wrong her complete dismissal of everything good and everyone’s work at our hospital. Not one mention to acknowledge or thank what our administrative team currently in place and our dedicated caregivers do every day. That was perhaps the most glaring omission and pretty unforgivable. Having worked for the hospital for ten years during some of the most difficult times, the disregard is striking and speaks volumes. This is not the voice of a partner but an opponent and calls in to question the ability to make good decisions for this community.
I just read your letter to the editor in the Grant County Beat. It was thoughtful and balanced. You are obviously working very hard at your job, something all of us, even if not in your district, appreciate.
You will never need my endorsement, but you got it anyway.
This letter is an attempt to clear up some of the misconceptions surrounding the hospital issue. By state statute, the Board of Trustees of Gila Regional Medical Center (GRMC) is not accountable to any entity, including the Grant County Board of Commissioners (GCBOC). The lack of a path for accountability and transparency is worsened by the New Mexico Open Meetings Act, which does not require hospitals to conduct their business in public. Under New Mexico’s Hospital Funding Act, the Commission appoints trustees, but the Act specifies that, “after their appointment, none of the members of the hospital governing board shall be removed except for cause specified in a written charge and after full public hearing on the charge.” In effect, the Commission has no recourse to address mismanagement – even when it threatens to bankrupt the hospital – other than to consider changing the ownership structure of the hospital.
The Commission instigated a partnership evaluation process primarily due to four major issues, 1) ever shrinking days of cash on hand, 2) the mill levy not passing, 3) how the cancer center issue was handled and 4) the amount of money it cost and is still costing to properly implement Meditech (electronic medical record system).
Zach Taylor's July 8 "Keeping you in the loop" edition of his Immigration Matters column in the Grant County Beat requires rebuttal.
I understand Mr. Taylor is a retired Border Patrol officer. I thank him for his service to our country in that capacity. However, I think columns like this are a disservice to the cause of civil and enlightened commentary of public matters.
His ending statement is perhaps the one I agree with most: "Of course that view depends on the objectivity of the reporter as much as anything else these days."
Most rural hospitals in New Mexico have been leased or sold to for profit institutions some years previously. The present board of trustees have made some mistakes in the financial and professional management of the hospital which has resulted in the current financial difficulty. This has happened before.
When I was on the hospital board, about twenty years ago, we made some of the same mistakes and had some financial issues, but not as serious as the hospital has had recently. There is a new Chief Executive Officer and a new Chief Financial Officer. I understand the new CFO has a very good background in the management of the financial aspects of hospitals.
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