AC troubles at Gallup hospital create dangerous environment for patients and employees

GALLUP, NM – Just two months after KOB 4 reported serious financial problems at Rehoboth McKinley Christian Hospital, patients and staff allege the hospital’s heating and cooling system is out of order.

“The thermostat in the hallway was registering 93 degrees,” said Jaylene Hinckley, a recently treated patient for COVID-19 at RMCH. “I was sitting there with a fever with other people who were sick, and we were sitting in a room that had no ventilation, no open windows.”

Hinckley said conditions did not improve after she got to her room.

“Even with the fans running and the bay door, which is the only door out from the emergency room, my room they put me in was 87 degrees.”

Another patient, Frederick Heald, MD, said he had a similar experience this month when he heard one of his nurses equate her experience in the intensive care unit with a practice of hot yoga.

Hospital officials have told KOB that this has only been an issue since Wednesday, and they have already fixed the issue.

The RMCHCS representative sent the following statement:

“The coolant stopped early in the morning on Wednesday, June 22. Technicians made repairs to the chiller and was back up and running at about 11 a.m. The plant operations department is working through a phased plan to make improvements to the HVAC system. From time to time, we see a spike in Temperatures are more than normal but we continue to provide safe healthcare to our patients.”

During the last McKinley County Committee meeting, concerned community members said these problems date back to the beginning of the year.

“Back in February, it was announced that there was a solution and a quote for HVAC repair, and the goal was to get it fixed before the hot summer months,” one of the women said during the public comment portion of the meeting. Tuesday evening.

She went on to say, “The staff we spoke to were told, quote, ‘The problem is fixed,’ or ‘This is just the way it is,’ and they don’t seem to have any real understanding of what the problem really is or have any timeline to fix it.”

Chairman Billy Moore has argued that the pandemic has made it difficult to order a new system, or any supplies for that matter.

He told KOB 4: “Most supplies are anywhere from 30 days to a year and a half. I recently ordered a new truck, and they told me it would be 2023 before I had it.”

Commissioner Moore also said that $850,000 has been approved for an all-new HVAC system, which is supposed to be installed immediately.

Back in April, he said the hospital had been getting the cash on hand for the last two weeks, but claims to be in a much better financial position today. He added that the hospital was waiting for refunds from the federal government, and the governorate concluded a loan agreement with a local bank for the hospital.

He said the issues with RMCH won’t go away overnight, but between the hospital leadership and McKinley County, things are moving forward.

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