SANTA FE — The first stand-alone emergency room in northern New Mexico will open this fall in Santa Fe.
Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center broke ground last week on an expansion at its current Entrada Contenta Health Center, an urgent care facility off Cerrillos Road on the city’s south side. The existing facility will be connected to a 6,000-square-foot, 24/7 emergency care center.
The urgent care branch, which opened in 2015, will also expand its imaging technology. It currently has X-ray services, and the expansion will add CT scanning and ultrasound capabilities.
Christus St. Vincent describes the new center as the first free-standing emergency department in the area. Hospital spokesperson Arturo Delgado said it mirrors what exists at the main hospital’s emergency room, but on a smaller scale.
For severe trauma cases or when the patient requires surgery, Delgado and Christas St. Vincent chief operating officer Lillian Montoya said patients can receive preliminary treatment at the new facility and then be taken to the hospital.
“It’s like any other emergency room,” said Delgado. “Nobody gets turned away, but if they have something more severe, they will be stabilized and transported to make sure they get what they need.” The new center will have six to eight treatment rooms. City ambulances will be able to take patients there if it is the closest option.
Montoya described the concept as “emergency care on steroids” that will provides a service that south side Santa Fe residents haven’t had close by before. She said the existing urgent care service handles 140 people on its busiest days. She and Delgado also noted that south Santa Fe ‘s population is growing with additional housing developments under construction.
“They fully utilize that facility now,” she said of residents. “This provides families another option on a 24/7 basis.” Montoya and Delgado both said the addition is not in response to Santa Fe’s increasing competition in the health care field. Presbyterian Healthcare’s new 344,000 square-foot hospital, also on the south side and not far from Christus St. Vincent’s urgent care, is set to open in the fall.
Montoya said the emergency care addition is a response to growing demand. She said that when Christus St. Vincent purchased the land for the Entrada Contenta facility, it intentionally bought enough for expansion. “As the community on that side (of the city) grew, so could our facilities,” she said.