Surgery at UNM SRMC
Surgeon Lilibeth Sanchez-Geswaldo, MD, peforms bariatric surgery at UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center in Rio Rancho. ABQ Health Partners joined with SRMC and its physicians in a collaboration aimed at making the hospital the state’s premier bariatric surgery destination.
Credit: Sara Mota

Health care is poised to be a major economic driver in Sandoval County, and UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center will be a big part of the industry's economic impact on the community.

In fact, the hospital has already played a significant role in contributing to the area's economy since opening in 2012, according to Jamie Silva-Steele, SRMC president and CEO.

SRMC has seen more than 105,000 outpatient and surgical visits since it opened, and UNM School of Medicine faculty and community physicians provide care in 17 medical specialty areas. More than 500 health care professionals provide services at the facility.

“The majority of our patients and 53 percent of our employees live in Sandoval county," Silva-Steele said. "That translated to more than $32 million in salaries in 2015 with the majority of that spent locally." 

As a contribution to the community, the hospital also has provided some $6.9 million in uncompensated care to residents since its opening in 2012, said Silva-Steele. 

The hospital also has partnered with more than 100 organizations, governmental and tribal officials on a wide-ranging number of indicatives to improve health and the economy of the area, she said. 

“We also know we are providing access to rural areas that have been traditionally underserved. Being part of this community means we need to reach out to all the cultures and groups we serve,” she continued.

The medical center is a key stakeholder with the Sandoval Health Collaborative, a group working to position Rio Rancho as a regional healthcare 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.  

A unique contribution SRMC brings to the local economy lies in it being part of a large a large academic medical center.

UNM students studying nursing, pharmacy, 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, said Silva-Steele.

SRMC has received a number of awards as for its working environment and was recognized as one of the Albuquerque Journal Top New Mexico Workplaces in 2015 and as one of the Best Places to Work by New Mexico Business Weekly. That commitment to workers remains high, said Silva-Steele.

“Our hospital’s success hinges on how well we are able to partner with the community amid an environment of great change and diversity,"  said Silva-Steele. "Our patients and staff are our neighbors and partners in care.”