New Mexico hospital physicians demand new CEO

Ayla Ellison (Twitter) -

Physicians at Rehoboth McKinley Christian Hospital in Gallup, N.M., are demanding a new local CEO, more transparency from the board and better working conditions. 

The physicians, who voted to become a labor union in early October, are calling for changes after the recent closure of the hospital's labor and delivery unit. The unit closed amid accusations from physicians that an out-of-state management company is extracting profits from the hospital and causing longtime staff to leave, according to Source New Mexico.

The hospital, on the edge of Navajo Nation, hasn't had a permanent CEO since September 2020. Don Smithburg was named interim leader after the hospital board fired the previous CEO in June. Mr. Smithburg is a vice president of the Plano, Texas-based company that manages Rehoboth McKinley. 

Leaders are focused on addressing the challenges facing the hospital, including its financial issues, Mr. Smithburg told Source New Mexico in early October.  

"We will continue our intense focus on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead," Mr. Smithburg told Source New Mexico. "Right now, that means stabilizing the hospital's financial outlook and quality assurance programs after years of mismanagement." 

In July, the hospital announced 80 jobs had been cut because of declining patient volumes. The jobs were cut after the hospital recorded a $14 million loss in 2020, largely due to the suspension of elective procedures during the pandemic.

Read the full Source New Mexico article here

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