The University Of New Mexico Board Regents on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution that allows the UNM the Health Sciences Center to “engage in regional and local hospital affiliations and enterprises.”  The broad policy allows Health Sciences Center (HSC) management to conduct due diligence regarding a potential partnership with Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services, a not-for-profit hospital in Gallup.

UNM Chancellor for Health Sciences Paul B. Roth told the regents that academic healthcare centers across the country are facing enormous pressure to enter such partnerships, especially where smaller, rural hospitals are concerned. Known as the  “Three Ps” (which stands for “Public-Private Partnerships”), these alliances are a growing trend across the nation as hospitals transform operations to meet the new challenges they will be facing under the Affordable Health Care Act.

For example, the costs of upgrading to more efficient technologies, as called for in the Affordable Care Act, can stress a small hospital’s financial operations. Many smaller hospitals don’t have the resources to upgrade to more efficient computer systems, which can cost 10s of millions of dollars. Last year, 20 percent of the hospitals in the country – 1,000 out of about 5,000 – were involved in some form of merger, Roth says.

Before the vote, Roth presented a report providing four major discussion points which are crucial to evaluating any proposal presented to Health Sciences Center management.  The first question, he said, should always be “will this proposal fit in with the HSC’s mission?”

“The HSC has a long history of partnering with communities in order to provide healthcare and we believe it is an integral part of our mission to the people of New Mexico,” Roth said.

Such public/private alliances are also consistent with the HSC’s Vision 2020 commitment to “make more progress in health and health equity than any other state by 2020.”

Media Contact: Cindy Foster (505) 272-0260; email:

Story by Cindy Foster, HSC Communications