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News report alleges Rehoboth hospital in danger of imminent closure

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Tensions around Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services are allegedly hitting a boiling point, with an Albuquerque news outlet reporting the hospital is in danger of closing within two weeks and the hospital management disputing that claim.

The Sun has not independently verified the report as of April 28, but the hospital’s interim CFO hired to communicate to community activists and the McKinley County Commission has been fired less than four months after she was brought on, the station said.

Activists have been raising the alarm for months and took their complaints to the County Commission in March. The panel threatened to pull the plug on the hospital’s land lease if RMCHCS didn’t respond with more transparency and a bigger say for the community.

In response, RMCHCS and its contract management company, Community Health Corp., hired a new CEO and interim CFO Chantelle Venter, who was fired April 26 after a meeting with the activist Community Health Action Group to lay out her 100-day turnaround plan, according to the story.


McKinley County officials told the Albuquerque outlet the hospital has enough money to stay open for 10-to-15 days, but Venter told the station the hospital is down to three days of cash on hand.

"The hospital is in such a financial state that it cannot afford basic supplies to take care of our patients, including toilet paper, pulse oximeters," Chantelle Venter, the former interim chief financial officer for RMCHCS, said. She later added she was suddenly fired April 26.

"Speaking on behalf of the hospital, the current situation is dire," Venter continued. "I'm not going to sugarcoat it. In fact, I am a turnaround CFO, and I am often called into situations where hospitals are usually in a bankruptcy situation."

The hospital has since posted this statement on its Facebook page:

“On Behalf of Robert A. Whitaker, CEO, RMCHCS

Dear Medical Staff, Hospital Employees and Community,

“There are false news reports circulating about Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services. It is unfortunate that misinformation is being reported and we want to share our news with you.

“While we continue to work through financial and other challenges, we are confident in our improvement plans and have great trust in our medical staff and hospital employees to provide exceptional health care and keep us moving in the right direction.

We are grateful for our health care providers and workers who dedicate themselves to improving the lives of our community.”

 

The Sun will update the story as it unfolds.

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