County Commissioner Frank Pando wants to set up a committee of citizens to look into whether Valencia County can support a hospital.
At this week’s commission meeting, he suggested that each commissioner name three people to serve on it.
The committee will study the feasibility of a hospital and report back to the commission and to municipalities every month. He said he hopes the committee would come to conclusions within six months.
“I feel very strongly about this, but it costs money, and money we don’t have. But it will not cost money to establish a committee to look at the cost, at where it should go, the location, how to pay for it, and how to get money,” Pando said.
Pando said he had seen an ad on TV which said Presbyterian Hospital is extending its hospital in Albuquerque to be a good neighbor.
“We need something, desperately, down here. Presbyterian should be a good neighbor and come down here,” Pando said.
He thought a 24-hour emergency clinic with 10 to 12 beds might be the best for the county.
“Sickness and accidents know no time element,” he said.
Doctors he’d spoken to in Albuquerque said they would come to the county occasionally.
“They’re willing to come here once a week. They’re willing to come here and treat patients. Their clientele are here. They would come down here and see real people,” Pando said.
Several months ago, a committee studied the idea of a county hospital but was not able to entice a private company to move to the county.
Pando served on that committee and said he would share information the committee had learned with the new group.
“Then, I’ll back off and let them do their own thing,” he said.
Commission chair Al Padilla said he recently went to Albuquerque twice in one night for treatment.
And, Pando said, when county residents travel to Albu-querque for emergency treatment, it takes four to six hours, and many people must bring the entire family along.
Commissioner Alicia Aguilar suggested there be “a scope to the committee with a resolution outlining what it should do. … We’re reinventing the wheel.”
Commissioners said they will submit names for the committee at their next meeting.