‘New’ RGH marks fifth anniversary

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

Having reached many milestones on its journey to re-establish healthcare services in the community, Roosevelt General Hospital will be celebrating another one on Friday. The hospital will open its doors to the community to celebrate the five-year anniversary of the hospital.

Roosevelt General Hospital is a short-term acute-care hospital, Kenda Dickenson, RGH director of public relations said. “We also provide discharge planning to get patients to nursing homes, rehabilitation or community resources they might need.”

After the closure of the old hospital by then-owner Presbyterian Healthcare Services in October 1998, the citizens of Roosevelt County banded together to build a new hospital and bring healthcare professionals back to the community. A special election was held in January 1999 and the first board members were elected, according to RGH officials. In August of 2001 the emergency room and in-patient services were opened to the public.

“We’re five years down the road, growing every year and continuing the growth of healthcare in Roosevelt County,” James D’Agostino, CEO of Roosevelt General Hospital said.

Many issues have been addressed since the beginning, the main one being the loss of medical professionals from the community. With the building of the hospital, many from the healthcare community returned to Portales, D’Agostino said.

The first group of medical professionals to be retained for the community was Eastern Medical Associates, on contract. In September 2005, RGH Internal Medicine Group was brought to the community as employees of RGH.

Services that are provided at the hospital include: emergency department, ICU, nuclear medicine, physical therapy, cardiac rehabilitation, diabetic education, home health care, laboratory and a full X-ray department.

A new CT machine is set to arrive in September. Also a permanent MRI machine will soon be in place. The hospital will have 24-hour access to the equipment, allowing the macines to be utilized in emergency cases.
Another program added more recently, is the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners. This program provides help for victims of sexual assaults. The program is staffed with two highly trained nationally certified nurses, said D’Agostino.

Celebrations marking RGH’s fifth anniversary will be held throughout the week. Each day will have a different theme celebrated in-house with RGH family and patients. On Friday, a big community celebration is planned.

Beginning at 9 a.m., D’Agostino will take a ride through the hospital on a scooter to mark the occasion. The ride recreates RGH’s opening day five years ago when D’Agostino rode through the hospital before the doors opened on a Dr. Pepper Razor Scooter purchased by Dickenson from the KENW Tele-auction.

Other events will be going on as the day continues. A carnival and booths are also being planned and will be set up on the lawn. A free hot-dog and hamburger lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
There will be two separate five-year pin presentations for RGH staff. There are approximately 40 employees from the original set of employees who started at RGH five years ago, Dickenson said.

According to D’Agostino, community support for the hospital has been a vital part of its growth. He says without the community there would be no hospital for Portales and Roosevelt County.

“ It’s been wonderful, we’ve had a lot of support. They are (community) part of the family and RGH is owned by the citizens of Roosevelt County,” D’Agostino said.