avicraluckey@gmail.com

On Monday, Sandoval County’s state-of-the-art medical center, equipped with gadgets such as a robot, is set to open.

Sandoval Regional Medical Center President and CEO Kevin Rogols said the Rio Rancho hospital is equipped with the newest technology in the medical field, including a da Vinci Surgical System robot in the operating room, which will make performing delicate procedures like organ transplants easier by reducing the effects of hand tremors. He said emergency room areas can be lit with various colors, such as pink or blue, which can help patients, especially children, feel a little more at ease in a sterile and unfamiliar setting.



“Let’s face it, when you come it’s anxious and it’s our job to put you at ease, and that actually helps with the care delivery process,” Rogols said.

SRMC celebrated the opening of the new medical center July 7 and 8 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, mariachi music and free pancakes and breakfast burritos.

The center will provide services in psychiatry, pathology, emergency medicine, anesthesiology and radiology, and has 72 inpatient beds, including 12 for intensive care and two 24-bed medical and surgical units and an additional 13 emergency-medicine beds for patients.

Executive Director of Communications and Marketing for the UNM Health Sciences Center Billy Sparks said SRMC has already created about 300 jobs and can serve thousands of patients. He said UNM funded $46 million of the $189 million facility, and the rest came from federal bonds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“When we decided to do this, Sandoval County was the largest county west of the Mississippi River without a hospital,” he said. “So you’re looking at providing access to quality care for over 100,000 people and it’s really important to be able to do that in your own community.”

Sandoval County resident Jessica Gallegos said that as a mother of two, she is happy to have access to health care for her children that isn’t a half-hour drive away. She said a nearby and up-to-date facility will allow parents to put their minds at ease, especially for medical emergencies.

“A lot of places are so rural and we have to travel,” she said. “We’ve been really lucky that we haven’t had any issues with our children, but it is a great thing to have something this beautiful and this new at our grasp.”

Chancellor for Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine Paul Roth said the center is the first community-based teaching hospital in the state. He said the center will also act as a training center for medical and nursing students.

“It’s a venue where patients benefit from having learners present and where clinicians serve a dual role of health care provider and teacher,” he said. “These learners will hopefully be the children of Rio Rancho and Sandoval County, with this teaching hospital serving as the last section of the educational pipeline leading to careers in health care.”

Sandoval Regional Medical Center