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UNM regents to consider stake in Gallup hospital

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Potential partnership would give university 20% of struggling nonprofit

University of New Mexico regents today will hold a special meeting to discuss a potential part-ownership of Gallup’s Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services.

That topic was discussed two weeks ago in a meeting between UNM Health Sciences Center administrators and five regents, but it was unannounced and behind closed doors, potentially violating the state’s Open Meetings Act.

It was at that meeting regents decided they should discuss the matter in a public setting, and they will do so today at 2 p.m. in Scholes Hall on the main campus.

At issue is a joint venture between UNMH and LHP Hospital Group, a private company based in Texas, for the potential ownership of the private, not-for-profit Gallup hospital, which has struggled financially.

UNM and LHP have already responded to a request for proposals issued by the Gallup hospital last year.

UNM says its hospital would not invest any capital in the project, and its role could be as limited as helping the Gallup hospital attract new doctors. But the university would have 20 percent ownership if the joint venture went through.

It would require approval from regents and likely other state oversight boards.

UNMH CEO Steve McKernan has said the process is in the early stages.

“…We’ve been asked to be involved to see if we could help another group bring good health care to the community, but we have not yet signed the initial letter of intent, and we have not been through due diligence, so we do not know what’s there,” Mckernan said.

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