Hidalgo Medical Services staff and dignataries take part in the ribbon-cutting of the new HMS clinic in Silver City. (Photo by Mary Alice Murphy)
A ribbon-cutting celebrated the Grand Opening of the new Hidalgo Medical Services facilty on Pope Street in downtown Silver City.
The Hidalgo Medical Services Silver City Community Health Center held its grand opening and ribbon cutting Friday afternoon, Jan. 18.
The building, at 1007 Pope Street, is part of revitalizing the area, and is patient-centered, according to Doug Majewski, principal architect and chief executive officer of The Hartman & Majewski Design Group.
"We do a lot of medical facilities," Majewski said. "We worked on the flow of patients, and through visits to other facilities, we spent a lot of time deciding what model would work best. Every design decision was 'patients first,' including a good place to wait that was airy and comfortable."
After HMS CEO Forrest Olson gave opening remarks, Bill Rogers, HMS Board chairman welcomed the standing-room only group to HMS's newest clinic—its 12th.
Rogers thanked the efforts of the late New Mexico Sen. Ben Altamirano, the current Senator Howie Morales, the late NM Rep. Manny Herrerra and current representatives Rodolpho "Rudy" Martinez and Dianne Hamilton. He also gave credit to former U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman and current senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich for their help in securing funding.
"Without the help of Mayor James Marshall and Town Manager Alex Brown, it would have been difficult," Rogers said. "We partnered with the town to secure the land. The town served as fiscal agent for the project."
He also gave thanks to number staff members who "were instrumental in overseeing the construction," including the former HMS CEO and now CEO of the Center for Health Innovations, Charlie Alfero, and Chief Medical Officer Darrick Nelson.
"We feel here at HMS that this new facility will give an increase in the quality of health care in Silver City," Rogers said.
Majewski credited Mark Richard with being the in-town architect on scene.
"Thanks to the team who visited other clinics and who wanted best practices, this is the design we came up with," Majewski said. "The building has natural light and is energy efficient."
Melanie Goodman of Sen. Tom Udall's office read letters of commendation from Udall, as well as one from the newly elected Sen. Martin Heinrich.
Morales pointed out that without the help of Grant County, Santa Clara, Bayard and Hurley, as well as the town of Silver City, the project could not have been funded on the state level, because these entities gave up their own projects to benefit the HMS building.
Martinez noted the "beautiful day to celebrate a grand opening. He also said Rep. Dianne Hamilton sent her regrets at not being able to attend.
Brown said he had been part of the project since the beginning. He commented on "all the work Charlie and Forrest had to do to get to this point. HMS already provides services. I'm looking forward to their additional services."
Olson conveyed his appreciation to federal and state legislators, as well as local representatives who put the needs of southwest New Mexicans ahead of politics to arrive at the celebratory day.
"It is a patient-centered medical home," Olson said. "We will have all our services under one roof—primary care, oral care and mental health care."
Olson said HMS is working with Gila Regional Medical Center for a continuum of care after a patient's discharge from the hospital.
"Last year, we had 65 different specialty students rotate through HMS," Olson said. "We want to add a family residency program here at HMS, with students spending their first year in Albuquerque for specialty rotations and their last two years of residency here."
He explained that after the opening of the facility, HMS will continue to provide some services at MedSquare, but "people will be here ready and waiting to provide services. "
Olson said the board is committed to the new facility and "every day I see the personal commitment of staff."
In the past six months, HMS has hired 19 new dentists, medical doctors and nurse practitioners. "Recruiting is extremely difficult."
In order for the residency program to proceed, there will be a federal site visit in March, and then it will be 30-60 days before HMS receives word of the status of its application. "We have already received funding for residents, and maybe this fall, we will pick up a couple of second-year residents.
Within a month or so, Dr. John Stanley will move his practice and staff to HMS.
The building has 30,000 square feet, with 22 medical exam rooms and two larger medical procedure rooms. In the building are an X-Ray machine and a bone density machine. For dental care, the facility houses 10 dental operatories and a digital Panorex machine. Nine mental health offices—seven on the second floor and two integrated into the medical hallways on the first floor—can be found in the building. The facility also has five community health worker rooms located in each of the service delivery halls, and three loft apartments for residents and students who rotate through HMS. Nutrition education and a teaching area are also in the building. A 1,315-square foot conference room, will be available to community groups in the future, once the facility is up and running for a couple of months to determine staff's needs for and utilization of the room, which can be divided into three separate areas.
The new facility will be open for service delivery on Monday, Feb. 4, with MedSquare being closed on Friday, Feb. 1 for the move.
HMS, during 2012, delivered just over 64,000 medical, dental and mental health visits to 16, 475 individuals. The annual operating budget includes $2.6 million in a federal grant; $925,000 in state funding; $370,000 local and collaboratives; and $11.965 million in program income.
The current payor mix includes 32.9 percent from private insurance; 27.6 percent from Medicaid; 18.8 percent from Medicare; 14.9 percent from sliding fee payors; and 5.8 percent of clients being self-pay.
Article and Photos by Mary Alice Murphy