Health care choices expanding in Northern New Mexico
T he health care industry is thriving in Santa Fe as the city’s traditional hospital expands its private rooms and a new hospital is on the horizon. By the end of the year, Northern New Mexico will have increased options for medical care, in and out of a hospital.
Presbyterian Santa Fe Medical Center, offering a variety of medical specialties and emergency and urgent care services, is scheduled to open in the fall of 2018 near the intersection of I-25 and Cerrillos Road. With 30 inpatient beds, the center will provide general, orthopedic and podiatry surgical services as well as pulmonary, rheumatology and urology care, according to Helen Brooks, Santa Fe area administrator for Presbyterian Healthcare Services.
Pediatric and ob-gyn providers will move from Presbyterian’s clinic on St. Michael’s Drive to the medical center, where Presbyterian estimates it will deliver 500 babies a year in a sixbed family birthing unit. “We’re expanding choice in Santa Fe,” Brooks said. “Not only do we provide access to our services, we connect to the entire network of Presbyterian.”
Presbyterian’s network consists of more than 905 providers in its medical group and in eight existing hospitals in New Mexico. “One advantage is you have a single medical record,” Brooks said. “You can go to any Presbyterian facility and physicians will have access to your record. It helps improve care.”
The new 342,000-square-foot facility is situated on a 40-acre campus. A hiking and biking path on the campus connects to a community trail along the edge of the property. In addition to its medical services, the center will house a laboratory, a pharmacy, community space and a rooftop garden. Brooks said that Presbyterian is in the early stages of talking with community organizations about hosting nutrition classes in the facility’s teaching kitchen.
Presbyterian invested $145 million to create a medical center that would meet Northern New Mexico’s current and future needs. “Within the whole facility, we have a significant amount of space that will enable us to grow and respond to community needs,” Brooks said. “We’ll begin planning out to expand services beyond the initial footprint.”
CHRISTUS St. Vincent Regional Medical Center has been busy expanding as well. The facility on Hospital Drive added 46 private rooms in the new Frost Pavilion, which opened in November 2017. The facility has started the next step of remodeling existing rooms in a $44 million, 18-month project. By the end of this year or the beginning of 2019, CHRISTUS will have 206 private rooms. Bigger than the original double rooms, the 280-square-foot rooms will be able to accommodate families who want to sleep over. “Private rooms have been known to reduce stress of patients and the risk of infection,” said Arturo Delgado, CHRISTUS’ director of marketing, communications and public relations. “People can get better sleep and more privacy for doctor conversations. Private rooms are conducive to the healing process and easier on health care providers and visitors.”
Presbyterian Española Hospital has been tapping into the trend of patient privacy as well. In the summer of 2017, the facility opened an updated emergency department that provides more space and privacy. The project, supported by a mil levy paid by Río Arriba County property owners, helps meet the growing demand for emergency services at the rural hospital, which serves northern Santa Fe County as well as Río Arriba, Los Alamos and Taos Counties.
In the new emergency department, walls and doors — instead of curtains — separate patients. The space has more than doubled, from 10,500 square feet to 25,000 square feet, with 18 private rooms plus two critical trauma rooms. “Based on the feedback we got from our physicians and community, we designed the ER to promote patient privacy and improve patient outcomes,” said Brenda Romero, hospital administrator. “We also built a room for families who are experiencing a difficult time, so they can have their own bathroom and don’t have to grieve in the hallway.”
Presbyterian and CHRISTUS St. Vincent have also been improving their outpatient services in Santa Fe. In December 2017, CHRISTUS kicked off an 18-month project, remodeling the Medical Dental Building to accommodate more CHRISTUS providers and to better use the second floor, which has had vacant offices over the years. “We’re starting to build it out as a multi-specialty complex with pediatrics, primary care, wound care, neurosurgical services, geriatrics, diabetes, urology and an outpatient pharmacy,” Delgado said. “We want to establish stability and use the space wisely.”
CHRISTUS serves seven counties in Northern New Mexico. To meet the needs of patients north of Santa Fe, CHRISTUS sends a variety of physicians, including cardiologists and ob-gyns, to provide care in Las Vegas. Recently CHRISTUS expanded diabetes care and education there as well. “Diabetes is very prevalent in this part of the state,” Delgado said. “There is a real need for that kind of care in Las Vegas.”
Presbyterian has been remodeling its urgent care and medical clinic, which opened in 2015. By early spring, the nonprofit health-care provider expects to have completed its second expansion of clinic space. “We started with four family medicine providers and now have 26 providers,” Brooks said. “They will be expanding into the new space, and we expect to continue to add more positions.”
Presbyterian considers the clinic its patients’ medical home, where primary care physicians work in conjunction with specialists in internal medicine, cardiology, endocrinology, neurology, pulmonology, orthopedics and behavioral health.
Presbyterian Medical Services (a different company than Presbyterian hospitals) integrates primary care into the addiction/behavioral health services it offers at the Santa Fe Family Wellness Center at 2504 Camino Entrada. The center started providing primary care to all ages in December 2017 and accepts Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. People who are uninsured can pay on a sliding fee scale.
In a time when some are feeling limited in their health care choices, the next year is a promising one in Northern New Mexico. By 2019 Santa Feans will have a remodeled Medical Dental Building, expanded outpatient services and a new choice of emergency departments and medical centers for scheduled surgeries.
Presbyterian Santa Fe Medical Center under construction, January 2018
A patient room in the new Frost Pavilion wing of CHRISTUS St. Vincent Regional Medical Center
CHRISTUS St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, January 2018