It was meant to bring Roswell freedom of choice. But now, just four years after opening its doors, Roswell Regional Hospital will soon be part and parcel with Eastern New Mexico Medical Center.
During a private gala to celebrate the opening of the new hospital at Roswell Regional in 2007, then Mayor Sam LaGrone said, “Competition is so good,” just moments after cutting a red ribbon at the new hospital’s main doors.
These days, Roswell Regional CEO and Administrator Rod Schumacher is discussing the “chance to join forces with the hospital up the street.” He announced the integration plan to RRH employees Tuesday.
According to a news release from RRH, the facility’s Board of Managers unanimously agreed to “execute a non-binding letter of intent and enter into (exclusive) negotiations with a subsidiary of Community Health Systems, Inc. for the sale of Roswell Regional Hospital.”
The young hospital will integrate with ENMMC — an affiliate hospital of CHS — and form “an integrated health care delivery system.”
Frederick French, chairman of the RRH Board of Managers, said, “integrated delivery is the future of health care.
“This type of alignment makes perfect sense — and it will be successful — because we share similar values and common goals,” French said.
The press release states integration will increase the quality of health services, attract physicians to the community and help both hospitals confront changes in the health care industry.
Schumacher said the downward economy and possible changes in the way health care is delivered did RRH in.
“It’s hard for a free-standing hospital to survive,” he said. “With Obamacare looming on the horizon, it’s hard for an individual hospital to thrive.”
Roswell Regional was up for sale about five months, Schumacher said. The integration process will take a few more months.
“It’s a deal in print,” Schumacher said, although he could not give details about the hospital’s price tag due to legal issues that are yet to be settled.
“Before this week is over, we’ll sign a letter of intent,” he said. A final agreement will be reached on or before Oct. 31, he said, with a finalization happening by Dec.1.
Originally owned by 22 doctors, anesthesiologists and midwives, RRH will soon have a Board of Trustees. Some of the original owners — about three to five individuals, according to Schumacher — will become part of the new board. He said there will also be an attempt to recruit board members outside the health care field.
Schumacher said RRH will continue to be a private hospital in that it will not be owned by the government.
“We don’t want to lose our small environment,” Schumacher said. “We’re hoping it’s something that can be perfected at both hospitals.”
Roswell Regional is a 77,000-square foot, 26-bed hospital. Privacy and a feeling of being in an intimate environment seem to be priorities at the hospital, which is equipped with six private, family-centered birthing rooms, three with whirlpool tubs for water births.
The hospital’s emergency room has three rooms.
All RRH employees in good standing are to be hired back at the same rate of pay.
“After the deal is closed everyone who had a job will continue to have a job,” Schumacher reassured. “Happy employees make happy patients, and that’s our goal.”