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Sage Memorial Hospital faces a financial hurdle

Sage Memorial Hospital faces a financial hurdle

WINDOW ROCK – Sage Memorial Hospital, like many healthcare institutions, is facing financial challenges.

With the new hospital being about 80% completed, the self-funded hospital grapples with a significant financial barrier. Melinda White, the hospital’s chief executive officer, has been at the forefront of managing these challenges.

The hospital needs an additional $6 million to fund two traffic lights at the intersection of Cedar Hills and Highway 264 and the intersection of Highway 264 and 191 in Ganado. The new hospital will cost roughly $177 million.

“We would prefer to have a dialysis unit than pay for a road construction,” White said. “That’s the reality of it.”

White reiterated that Sage Memorial Hospital is not merely a road construction business, but a steadfast healthcare provider, dedicated to meeting the community’s healthcare needs.

This barrier affected the hospital’s original plan, which called for first constructing 81 new apartments, 29 homes, a dialysis center, and 40 fully built-out beds.

However, the Arizona Department of Transportation has introduced a new requirement, adding to the hospital’s financial burden. The ADOT is now mandating that Sage Memorial Hospital cover the cost of constructing two traffic lights and a “pork chop,” a traffic control island that splits the traffic flow in two, all at once, before the hospital can open its doors in June.

The estimated cost for these requirements is roughly $6,144,644 for the two traffic lights.

As a result of the financial barrier, the hospital’s leadership was forced to make tough decisions, leading to a reduction in services and facilities. This has had a direct impact on the community, making the need for support even more pressing.

With the new hospital opening, upgrading traffic lights is crucial for safe and efficient access. However, it would also mean reducing and decreasing certain services and redirecting funds.

The hospital’s services are crucial to the community it serves. As a critical access hospital and outpatient clinic, it provides essential healthcare services to eight communities with approximately 23,000 people: Ganado, Kin Dah Łichí’í, Łeeyi’tó, Wide Ruins, Lower Greasewood Springs, Cornfields, Názlíní, and Steamboat. For instance, the previously planned $ 6 million investment in a dialysis unit is a testament to the hospital’s commitment to meeting the community’s healthcare needs.

Read the full story in the May 9 edition of the Navajo Times.


About The Author

Boderra Joe

Boderra Joe is a reporter and photographer at Navajo Times. She has written for Gallup Sun and Rio Grande Sun and has covered various beats. She received second place for Sports Writing for the 2018 New Mexico Better Newspaper Awards. She is from Baahazhł’ah, New Mexico.

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