UNM’s Sandoval Regional Medical Center (SRMC) is playing a significant role in growing the economy of Rio Rancho and Sandoval County according to Jamie Silva-Steele, the hospital’s president and CEO.
There have been more than 184,000 outpatient and surgical visits to SRMC since it opened in 2012, she said.
“We know that we have been able to grow due to the support we have received from the community,” Silva-Steele said. “That support meant we were able to offer services quicker than would have been possible otherwise.”
One such area has been with behavioral health services, she said.
“We knew at the time we began building the hospital that there was a need for inpatient behavioral health where patients and their families could receive care close to their homes, which is why we made that commitment to providing that type of care,” she said.
Today, UNM School of Medicine faculty and community physicians provide care in 17 medical specialty areas and more than 500 health care professionals provide services at the facility, she said.
“The majority of our patients and 51 percent of our employees live in Sandoval County," Silva-Steele said. "That translated to more than $38 million in salaries in 2015 with the majority of that spent locally."
As a contribution to the community, the hospital also has provided some $47 million in charity and uncompensated care to residents since its opening in 2012, Silva-Steele said.
The hospital also has partnered with more than 100 organizations and governmental and tribal officials on a number of wide-ranging initiatives to improve health and the local economy, she said.
“We also know we are providing access to rural areas that have been traditionally underserved,” Silva-Steele said. “Being part of this community means we need to reach out to all the cultures and groups we serve.”
The medical center is a key stakeholder with the Sandoval Health Collaborative, a group working to position Rio Rancho as a regional health care education hub, attract new health care businesses and investment and improve overall health in the county, she said.
“Ultimately, those goals will result in better health care,” she said.
SRMC makes a unique contribution to the local economy due to its being part of a large a large academic medical center.
UNM students studying nursing, pharmacy and physical therapy have joined physician assistant, medical residents and fellows in training on campus. Those educational opportunities are expected to grow within the next few years as the hospital grows its operations and the UNM Health Sciences Center expands academic offerings at the UNM West campus, Silva-Steele said.
SRMC has received a number of awards as for its working environment. It was recognized as one of the Albuquerque Journal Top New Mexico Workplaces in 2016 and as one of the Best Places to Work by New Mexico Business Weekly in 2015 and 2016. That commitment to workers remains high, Silva-Steele said.
“Our hospital’s success hinges on how well we are able to partner with the community amid an environment of great change and diversity," she said. "Our patients and staff are our neighbors and partners in care.”