A new effort is underway to secure funding for the construction of a hospital in Gallup, New Mexico.
New Mexico State Senator Patricia Lundstrom has announced that she is going to do what she can to urge the federal government to release funding to build a replacement hospital for the existing Gallup Indian Medical Center.
That five-story facility, located at 516 Nizhoni Boulevard, was opened in the fall of 1961 and has been in need of upgrading.
Last year the federal Indian Health Service announced it was releasing $2 million for the planning of a new hospital in Gallup.
The 98-bed center, located on the border of the Navajo Reservation, handles up to 250,000 outpatient encounters a year, and another 6,000 inpatient admissions.
The officially named Gallup Indian Medical Center Relocation Project estimates that it could ultimately cost as much as $500 million to build a new facility.
What the new center will look like and where it will be built are questions that have engaged both Navajo and Gallup officials. Last year Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez called for the construction of a health care complex that would also include commercial space and housing for employees.
The center has made recent headlines treating hundreds of Gallup area residents infected with COVID-19. Gallup itself was put on lock-down by New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham owing to the city’s more than 1,100 COVID-19 cases.
Senator Lundstrom, in a column for the Santa Fe New Mexican, has declared that now is the time to “cut the red tape and delays and move federal dollars into the Indian Health Service to build the replacement hospital for the Gallup Indian Medical Center.”
Officials with the Indian Health Service, which is divided into a dozen service areas nationally, have previously stated that replacing the Gallup Indian Medical Center is an agency priority.
By Garry Boulard
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