Today we met with the Hospital Chief Executive of Lincoln County Medical Center, Todd Oberheu to get his perspective on all that is happening at the hospital and satellite clinics in Lincoln County. Let me start by saying we have seen some great improvements in our healthcare system over the last five years, but when Todd talks about what is happening now, there is a sparkle in his eyes. His passion for the betterment of healthcare in our Community is evident and we are blessed to have him and his family here.
I am going to go back and share with you all some history of our hospital. In 1950 the hospital was originally built. It was the Ruidoso Hondo Valley Hospital. In 1972, Presbyterian Healthcare Services out of Albuquerque leased the facility and took over the operations. It was the first hospital outside of Albuquerque that Presbyterian took on. Presbyterian truly is a New Mexico healthcare system. In 1908, Rev. Hugh A. Cooper, a Presbyterian pastor in Albuquerque founded the Southwest Presbyterian Sanatorium, a facility for the hundreds of tuberculosis patients coming to Albuquerque which eventually would become Presbyterian Hospital.
Five years ago the Physician’s Office Building opened which was just the beginning of the changes in spaces and places that we would see in our healthcare system. Initially, there were conversations about a renovation on the current hospital as the infrastructure was in desperate need of repair and care. However, after numbers were crunched it was determined that a new hospital was a better, more cost effective option.
The new hospital is going to be state-of-the-art and will offer our Community so much more. It will still be a twenty-five bed facility operating under the same rural licensure as the old facility. Yet, it will have two additional ICU rooms and two additional rooms for women’s services, giving it six total ICU rooms, six rooms for women’s services and thirteen medical/surgical rooms.
We currently have a non-invasive cardiologist on full time, Dr. Harold Sunderman. He is a much needed addition and gives residents here the option of diagnosis and treatments in Ruidoso. They hope to be adding urology, neurology and oncology which will allow for chemotherapy. Oberheu said, “we want to find the things that are difficult for our residents that we can take care of here, rather than have them drive 3-4 hours for treatment”. Altrusa contributed money to make the chemo administration happen and staff is currently training for the services. MRI will be moved into the new building and they will add nuclear medicine for bone scans and stress tests for cardiology.
The date for opening the new facility is November 2019. The move will happen in three week long stages. During the first week they will move the non clinical areas such as the administration offices, the second week they plan to move the infusion and clinical departments and lastly they will move the inpatients and emergency room.
This is all very exciting and we know it is going to be amazing. Mr. Oberheu and his team are actively recruiting for Primary Care doctors and other medical staff that might be a good fit for our healthcare system. We look forward to the unveiling. Yes indeed, we are making this a better place to live, work and play.
Rendition of the New Hospital
Rendition of the New Hospital
The original Ruidoso-Hondo Valley Hospital