By Christina Calloway
PNT senior writer
Roosevelt General Hospital CEO Larry Leaming talked about an updated hospital information system, among other improvements the hospital plans to make as it continues to grow at the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce quarterly luncheon Thursday.
Leaming spoke enthusiastically about the growth the hospital has had since reopening nearly 12 years ago.
Leaming gave an overview of the changes made and the expansion of the hospital within the last two years. Those changes included the expansion of the RGH clinic and its hours, the hospital’s foundation, and helicopter service to nearby hospitals for patients who need special treatment.
“This is an underserved area. There are not enough physicians for the population but we’re working on recruitment,” Leaming said.
Leaming said the expansion of the clinic has created enough space for 13 providers. He added that emergency care has its own space and separate billing.
The biggest upcoming change the hospital is expected to undergo is moving to an updated electronic information system.
Leaming said most files medical files will be made available electronically, as well as the hospital’s billing system this fall to early next year.
“Long-term, there will be fewer mistakes,” Leaming said, such as patients receiving the wrong dosage as an example.
He estimated the system to cost $3 million, with the help of federal funds.
Recently the hospital was accredited by Det Norske Veritas, one of the world’s leading quality improvement accreditation organizations, according to Leaming. The accreditation was awarded to RGH in March for three years, which meets and exceeds the standards of performance for Medicare, Leaming said.
The audience seemed a bit concerned when Leaming began discussing the impact of the Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obama Care.
“A lot of what is likely to happen is still unknown,” said Leaming, who sits on a board tasked with designing the New Mexico Health Exchange. “It will be millions of dollars to try to get people insurance but where is this money coming from?”
But Leaming said regardless of what effects the ACA will have on the hospital, they will never turn people away for services.
Portales MainStreet Manager Sandy Van der Veen said the community has been supportive of the hospital so she was happy to organize Leaming as the luncheon’s speaker.
“I think people came because they heard about the leaps and bounds that RGH has made so they wanted to hear it from (Leaming’s) mouth.”