RGH profits rising

Roosevelt General Hospital is operating in the black for the first time since the hospital reopened in 2001, according to hospital officials.

RGH Administrator Larry Leaming said the hospital ended the last fiscal year $875,803 in the black, one year after turning a small profit in 2010. In 2009, the hospital operated at a $1.3 million deficit.

"It has been a turnaround," said Leaming, who was recruited to the hospital two years ago from Colorado. "This organization for its first 10 years has struggled mightily and especially in the first few years. It takes time to recruit people and to get equipment. It takes time to build any kind of business. The difference in the last two years has been focusing on and paying attention to the business side of the equation. I focus on operating margin."

RGH is a non-profit facility owned by Roosevelt County residents.

RGH Director of Marketing and Public Relations Amber Hamilton said county officials formed the Roosevelt County Special Hospital District in 2001, which includes five elected board members, one from each county district. One half of one percent of county gross receipt taxes go to funding the hospital.

Leaming said the hospital has had the money to add services and staff in the last two years.

"On the revenue side of the equation we have to look at what services we are providing and what do we charge for those services?" Leaming said. "The prices we had been charging for services hadn't been adjusted in a long time. You have to pay attention to accurate pricing. We looked at our pricing and realized in some instances, we were not pricing efficiently and we were not covering our costs."

Leaming said although the hospital has increased prices for certain treatments in the last two years, they are still one of the most affordable medical facilities in eastern New Mexico and west Texas.

Alisa Boswell: Portales News-Tribune

Christopher Martinez, 2, gets a checkup Tuesday afternoon at the Roosevelt General Hospital clinic by Dr. Javier Sosa. More exam rooms are being constructed so the hospital can recruit more medical practitioners.

Along with increased revenues, Hamilton said the renovations and expansion to the clinic are being paid for with $186,000 in appropriation from the state.

"I think that the hospital accomplished some great things in its first 10 years, then with Dr. Leaming came a new style of leadership and a new level of fiscal responsibility that has been tremendous," Hamilton said. "He has been able to bring a depth of knowledge and a level of experience in a small rural hospital in how to run this organization to where we are at a place now where we can get electronic medical records; where we can go out and expand the clinic; where we can go out and recruit new providers."

Alisa Boswell: Portales News-Tribune

Dr. Shad Wooldridge, medical imaging director, demonstrates an ultra sound procedure on Roosevelt General Hospital personnel Tuesday at the RGH clinic. Mammogram technology is one of the additions to the hospital's services.

Hamilton said specialty doctors who have been recruited to the clinic are Krishna Lingala, who specializes in interventional pain management (pain treatment by injection) and Anne Grayson, who specializes in the Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF) procedure, which deals with chronic acid reflux.

She said the main focus now for the hospital is bringing in more family practice physicians, because that is what Roosevelt County community members are requesting most.

"We need to meet the needs of general family practice first and foremost and then we need to pick up specialties as they allow. You have to find the best fit," Hamilton said. "It's just all been growing but there's still so much potential here. There's so much more growth to be done."

The previous Portales hospital, owned by Presbyterian Healthcare Services, closed in 1998, according to Portales News-Tribune records.

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