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‘Micro-hospital’ to open on West Side

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The Albuquerque ER and Hospital at 9310 Coors Blvd. NW is being built at the former Grandma\’s Music Store. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Houston, Texas-based Nutex Health Inc. is opening a “micro-hospital” and emergency room at 9310 Coors Blvd NW, formerly the site of Grandma’s Music.

The 15,585-square-foot facility, called Albuquerque ER & Hospital, is scheduled to open May 10. It will accept most commercial and private insurance plans and New Mexico Workers’ Compensation, according to information supplied by the company.

It will not accept Medicare or Medicaid.

Once open, the facility will have seven acute care beds, four inpatient beds and a staff of about 40 employees, 30 of them full time. MRI, CT scans and digital x-ray will be available on-site, among other services.

Albuquerque ER & Hospital is operated by four physicians who were most recently associated with Lovelace Health System or Presbyterian Healthcare Services. Nutex is the corporate owner of Albuquerque ER & Hospital and more than a dozen similar sites in several states; the doctors are licensed owners of this particular facility.

Dr. Sanjay Kholwadwala, formerly of Lovelace, is the hospital’s CEO and medical director. The micro-hospital’s spokeswoman, Misti Melendez, said the company would release names of the other three doctors at a later date.

In an interview, Kholwadwala said the goal is to treat between 20 and 30 patients a day at the facility, a far lower volume than is typical at traditional emergency rooms.

“We believe the micro-hospital can be a more effective model for patients,” said Kholwadwala. “They are popping up around the country.”

Asked how the organization would handle those patients with urgent care needs who arrive at the emergency room, Kholwadwala said the staff would make good-faith efforts to direct such individuals toward an urgent care facility so the patient is not charged for emergency room services.

Melendez said the company will discuss insurance and self-payment options with patients upon arrival. She attributed the decision to not accept Medicare or Medicaid to the doctor’s desire to make treatment central to the operation.

“There’s so much strict regulation with those programs, sometimes the focus on treatment gets lost in the process,” said Melendez. “These doctors want to focus on patients.”

Melendez said local emergency service providers have been told not to take patients with severe trauma to Albuquerque ER & Hospital, because other hospitals are better equipped to deal with such a situation. If such a patient were to arrive at the facility, the individual would be stabilized and transported elsewhere, she said.

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