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New RR Medical Center Preps for Grand Opening

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RIO RANCHO – Construction is done, hiring nearly complete and plans are under way for a big opening day bash at Presbyterian Healthcare Services’s Rust Medical Center in Rio Rancho.

Hospital administrator Clay Holderman told Sandoval County commissioners last week that the hospital has received its certificate of occupancy. He said 385 of 485 staffers have been hired, and the grand opening is set for Oct. 22.

He expects up to 5,000 people may show up for the celebrations.

The 68-bed facility at Unser and Black Arroyo will provide emergency and intensive care, surgical procedures, labor and delivery and neonatal intensive care services for the growing Rio Rancho and West Side Albuquerque populations.

Once open, the hospital will be able to tap into funds accumulated from a property tax approved in 2008 by Sandoval County residents. The 4.25 mil levy for health care was first included on 2009 tax bills. It was estimated to raise annual property taxes on a home valued at $100,000 by $141.66 and yield about $13.8 million annually for up to eight years.

The accumulated funds have been held in trust by the Sandoval County treasurer.

According to health care contracts the county approved in 2009, the tax funds will be divided between Rust Medical Center and the University of New Mexico Medical Group’s Sandoval County Regional Medical Center in the Rio Rancho City Center, which is scheduled to open in June 2012.

Once the UNM hospital opens its planned behavioral health unit, 20 percent will go to support that unit. The remaining 80 percent of the funds will be divided between the two hospitals.

Holderman explained that Presbyterian invested the $190 million needed to build the hospital and adjacent medical office building.

Tax funds will go to support hospital operations and will represent about 5 percent of the annual operating budget, he said.

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