Holy Cross Medical Center

Holy Cross Medical Center is the central hub for health care in north-central New Mexico. Our hospital and clinics are home to over 80 physicians, covering a variety of ever-expanding specialties that include internal medicine, wound care, dermatology, ob/gyn, orthopedics, general surgery, urology and a fully-staffed emergency department.

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Holy Cross Highlight

Holy Cross Medical Center and the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Fires

As the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Fires continue to threaten our region, Holy Cross Hospital has been working closely with local Emergency Response Coordinator David Elliot to make sure that proper response plans are in place.

Holy Cross Medical Center has over 400 employees. Some employees live in neighboring communities that are under different levels of evacuation notice, and the team at the hospital is monitoring the situation in regards to those that might be affected by evacuations. Holy Cross is helping employees that are displaced from their homes find safe places to relocate and is offering housing support if necessary. 

In preparation for possible air quality degradation due to smoke from the fires, the Holy Cross Hospital maintenance team is evaluating the hospital’s HVAC system and making plans to mitigate potential smoky conditions and poor air quality. 

Holy Cross Hospital remains open and the emergency response team does not foresee an immediate situation where services would need to be restricted. Bill Patten, CEO of Holy Cross Medical Center said  “It is important that our community knows that our hospital remains open to provide quality health care. Though this is an evolving situation and weather patterns can change, it appears unlikely that the hospital or any of our facilities will be at risk, and Holy Cross is here and ready to care for our community.”

Non-invasive Kidney Stone Treatments are Available in Taos

It is estimated that over half a million people will go to the emergency room for kidney stone problems and roughly ten percent of people will have a kidney stone at some time in their lives. Kidney stones grow when minerals and salts in urine crystalize and form stones. Usually, the chemicals that cause kidney stones are processed by the kidney and washed out of the body through urine, but sometimes the concentration is high enough that hard stones form. Kidney stones can be as small as a grain of sand and as large as a pebble and can cause an array of symptoms. Though more often found in adults, kidney stones are found in children as young as five. 

Kidney stones cause pain when they get large enough to cause irritation and can even cause blockage. Common symptoms of kidney stones include severe pain on either side of the lower back, a vague pain or stomach ache that won’t go away, bloody urine, nausea, vomiting, fever, and urine that smells pungent or looks cloudy. 

While there is no single cause for kidney stones there are a few lifestyle choices that may impact whether stones develop. Not drinking enough water, consuming high amounts of salt, eating meat-heavy diets, and genetics may all be important factors as to whether you may develop kidney stones. The body usually processes and flushes smaller stones without needing medical intervention, but the process is painful. Luckily there are some fantastic non-invasive solutions that break up the size of the stones, and we have access to this technology right here in Taos.

Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy is a process that breaks up kidney stones without needing surgery. High energy shockwaves are focused on kidney stones and the process breaks up the stones into small pieces that will pass naturally through urine. The non-invasive lithotripsy treatment usually takes less than an hour and most patients can return home within hours of the procedure. 

Dr. Stephen Lucero is a urologist at Holy Cross Surgical Specialties and has over 35 years of experience in the medical field of urology. Dr. Lucero graduated from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and joined the Holy Cross Medical Center team in 2017. While Stephen offers many general urology services, one of his major projects was bringing a lithotripsy machine to Taos. 

“It’s not common for a rural community this size to have access to a state-of-the-art non-invasive lithotripsy machine, so it’s impressive that we have one right here in Taos.” Says Dr. Lucero.

Lithotripsy causes less pain than many other treatments, offers a shorter treatment time, reduces follow-up procedures, is effective for children and adults, and is available at Holy Cross Hospital. You don’t need to leave Taos for great care. If you ever have the unfortunate development of kidney stones, you have access to non-invasive treatment right here in Taos.

For more information about lithotripsy and other urology services call our Surgical Specialties office at (575) 758-3141.

Community Health Needs Assessment Focus Groups

Holy Cross Medical Center is looking for community members to participate in a focus group as part of our Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) process. Every 3 years, we conduct a CHNA to evaluate the overall health needs of the area. By getting broad community feedback, we can identify ways that our hospital can adequately address these needs.

During this hour-long focus group, we hope to prioritize the health need in our area, identify community resources, and develop strategies for improving community health.

Two sessions will be available to participate in on April 1st at Noon and 5:00 PM.

This is very important in our commitment to our community, and we appreciate your time and assistance!

Please note, the following links will only be effective at the time of the event. You will need to log in and join the session at the scheduled time.

Link for April 1st – Noon focus group:

Link for April 1st – 5:00 PM focus group:

Jeannie Ross is One of This Year’s Taoseña Awards Recipients!

We’d like to take a moment to congratulate Jeannie Ross, Director of Community Health Services at Holy Cross Medical Center, for being recognized as a Woman of Impact at the annual Taos News Taoseña Awards!

The Taoseña Awards are presented to women who are committed to the community and passionate in spirit. Congratulations to Jeannie, and we thank her for the great work being done by her and her team.

Find more at https://taosnews.com

Community Health Services of Holy Cross Hospital manages free programs for the community:

The First New Year’s Baby is Welcomed at Holy Cross Hospital – 2022

Please join us in welcoming John James Wilson, the first baby born at Holy Cross Hospital in 2022. Angél & John Wilson of Red River were proud to welcome their son, J.J. at 4:52am on January 1st.

Angel & John Wilson with John James Wilson, the first newborn baby of 2022 at Holy Cross Hospital.

2022 has been a busy year for the staff at Holy Cross Hospital. Four new babies were delivered in the first week of the New Year.

It is tradition for Holy Cross to welcome the first newborn of the year with a gift basket of goodies filled with baby clothes, diapers, blankets, lotions, and plenty of great baby books. Welcome to the world, John James Wilson!

Looking Back at 2021

In 1936 Mabel Dodge Luhan donated a house on La Posta Road that became the first location of Holy Cross Hospital in Taos. It has been 85 years since the original building was donated and Holy Cross Hospital began growing its roots in Taos. Over the years, Holy Cross Hospital has expanded to include a family of local clinics, outpatient services, and community programs, this healthcare family is now known as Holy Cross Medical Center. Our hospital is now an 89,000 square-foot Critical Access Hospital and is part of the non-profit, Holy Cross Medical Center, which employs over 400 members of our community.

As another year comes to a close, we wanted to take a moment to look back on some of the accomplishments that Holy Cross made in 2021.

Vaccine Distribution

One of Holy Cross Hospital’s biggest achievements for this year is the successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Holy Cross was ahead of the curve when the first round of COVID-19 vaccines were distributed. The team had already prepared for community-wide storage and distribution of the vaccine by ordering and installing the ultra-low-temperature freezers needed to properly store the vaccines. In early January, the hospital was working closely with the Town of Taos, Taos County, Taos Pueblo, local healthcare providers, and many volunteers to establish a vaccine distribution site, first on the hospital campus, then at the Taos Middle School, and finally at the Sagebrush Inn. By February 4th Holy Cross had distributed 1,500 doses of the vaccine, and by May, Taos County was one of the most vaccinated counties in New Mexico. It was an amazing team accomplishment with David Elliot, Hospital Emergency Response Coordinator, coordinating the efforts. The continued commitment of David Elliot throughout the pandemic earned him the ‘Citizen of the Year Award’ from the Taos News for 2021. We are proud to have David Elliot on our team, and we are grateful for the amazing efforts of everyone involved.

The freezers that were acquired in 2020 continue to store the Pfizer vaccine for Holy Cross distribution efforts and also allows Holy Cross to store vaccines for other local healthcare providers. Holy Cross continues to offer COVID-19 vaccinations & booster shots at the recently reopened Holy Cross Annex Building, provided with the support of the Town of Taos. All three vaccine options and boosters are available and you don’t need to register. Walk-ins are welcome Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 11am-3pm.

Going Above & Beyond

Every member of the Holy Cross family has worked non-stop since the beginning of the pandemic. While we experienced some return to normal this past summer, variants and breakthrough cases started to re-emerge, and our health care family was put to the test for the third time during the pandemic. We have an amazing team at Holy Cross Hospital and the continued quality of care is quite the accomplishment for a rural community hospital. Special mention goes to the Emergency Department, Hospitalist Service, and the Intensive Care staff but all staff members played an important role throughout the pandemic.

State-of-the-art Imaging

To better serve the needs of our community, Holy Cross Hospital installed a new state-of-the art mammography machine which is one of the most advanced systems available. The Genius 3D Mammogram is top-of-the-line technology and is available right here in Taos.

Holy Cross is also in the process of installing a new state-of-the-art CT machine. This new machine offers enhanced imaging technology, faster exams, and low radiation exposure. The new machine will be purchased with funding provided by the Taos County mill levy.

The pandemic kept a lot of people from scheduling regular exams, but it’s important to continue your regular check-ups. If you haven’t scheduled your mammography exam and you need to, don’t delay any longer, schedule your appointment today.

Expanding Pediatric Services

Dr. Villarreal, or Dr. V, as many Taos families know her, has been a beloved pediatrician for countless families in our region. Dr. Villarreal has decided to retire this year and she approached Holy Cross Medical Center about acquiring her practice so that her families can continue to get great local care. While there are many details to be worked out through the month of December, the HCMC team is excited to maintain pediatric services and provide excellent care for Dr. V’s families. HCMC plans to continue the legacy of care that Dr. Villarreal has provided families in the region — in part by retaining the TCCY staff and keeping the many familiar faces in place at the practice.

Bill Patten, CEO of Holy Cross Medical Center said, “Our hope is to retain all of the staff from Dr. V’s team and provide patients with as seamless a transition as possible. Pediatrician, Dr. Karen Gelfand will also be joining the team at TCCY when she relocates from HCMC’s clinic on Gusdorf Road in January.”

Cancer Support for Local Families

In 2021 Cancer Support Services raised over $54,000 to help provide support for over 125 community members struggling with cancer. If you or a loved one are struggling with cancer please learn more about our services at TaosCancerSupportServices.com

Expanded Care for Pregnant Women, Babies & Families.
Holy Cross First Steps has nine home visitors that provide free local support for families with newborns and children up to the age of 5. This year the amazing team at First Steps provided free support for 220 families and provided over 2,000 home visits.

The Rural OB Access and Material Services program known as ROAMS, is a grant funded program managed by Holy Cross Medical Center. The ROAMS program brought new ultrasound equipment to Questa, Taos and facilities in northeastern New Mexico. ROAMS has also helped connect practitioners with pregnant women and new mothers living in rural parts of New Mexico via online telehealth appointments, offering enhanced care options with less travel for the patient.

To top off these great free services, Women’s Health Institute and the Holy Cross Labor & Delivery department delivered 138 new Taoseño babies so far this year. We are eagerly awaiting the first newborn of 2022!

A Quest for Excellence

Each year the New Mexico Hospital Association recognizes exceptional efforts by hospitals to improve hospital quality and patient care for the people of New Mexico. The awards represent the highest level of professional acknowledgement from New Mexico’s Quality Committee and members. This year, Holy Cross Hospital was chosen to receive the Quest for Excellence Quality Award. Being the recipients of this year’s Quest for Quality is a significant reward for Holy Cross Medical Center and is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the amazing staff

Navigating Insurance Benefits

The Benefit Navigation program of Holy Cross Hospital is a free program to help the citizens of our community understand their health insurance enrollment options and provide application assistance. This year our benefit navigation team helped over 450 community members navigate their insurance options. We are looking forward to expanding services to provide support for disability benefits in 2022.

Substance Misuse Prevention

Taos Alive’s founder, Julie Bau, was posthumously honored with the Outstanding Dedication to Underage Drinking Prevention award from the New Mexico Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Her husband, Dom, and their 4 year old son, Kauani, were present at the award ceremony held September 18th, 2021 in Albuquerque to accept the award on Julie’s behalf. We thank Julie for the immeasurable impact she made on our community.

The Taos Alive Coalition strives to unite the community by planning and implementing strategies that prevent and reduce substance misuse and its consequences among Taos County youth. Taos Alive was recently awarded a $238,000 grant to continue to offer their great support for our community.

Holy Cross Hospital is proud to care for the Taos community. From everyone at Holy Cross Medical Center, thank you for your continued service and please have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season.

Holy Cross Medical Center to Acquire Taos Clinic for Children and Youth

Effective on January 1st, 2022, Holy Cross Medical Center (HCMC) will acquire Dr. Sylvia Villarreal’s practice, Taos Clinic for Children and Youth (TCCY). Dr. Villarreal, or Dr. V, as many Taos families know her, has been a beloved pediatrician for countless families in our region. Dr. Villarreal has decided to retire this year and the acquisition will insure that robust pediatric care will continue to be available for our community. 

Dr. Villareal announced her interest in retiring and approached HCMC about possibly acquiring the practice in June of 2021, and conversations regarding the acquisition remained steady, ultimately resulting in an agreement for HCMC to move forward with the acquisition. While there are many details to be worked out through the month of December, the HCMC team is excited to maintain pediatric services and provide excellent care for Dr. V’s families.

Dr. Sylvia Fernandez Villarreal

Dr. Sylvia Fernandez Villarreal said, “Taos Clinic for Children and Youth will be left in superb hands and hearts. Taos Professional Services [A subsidiary of Holy Cross Medical Center] has purchased the practice. Drs Parker and Gelfand, Kerry Hopes, PNP and Morgan Swinehart Weyer, PA will continue to provide excellent and compassionate pediatric care to your children.”

HCMC plans to continue the legacy of care that Dr. Villarreal has provided families in the region — in part by retaining the TCCY staff and keeping the many familiar faces in place at the practice.

Bill Patten, CEO of Holy Cross Medical Center said, “Our hope is to retain all of the staff from Dr. V’s team and provide patients with as seamless a transition as possible. Pediatrician, Dr. Karen Gelfand will also be joining the team at TCCY when she relocates from HCMC’s clinic on Gusdorf Road in January.”

Patten continued, “I’d like to personally thank Dr. Villarreal for the many years of excellent service she has provided to our community. While I know that it will be a big job to fill Dr. V’s shoes, we are confident in the high level of care that we can provide the community long into the future.”

Holy Cross Medical Center is honored to be entrusted with the TCCY practice. The clinic will be joining Holy Cross Medical Center’s family of care which includes Holy Cross Hospital, Holy Cross Surgical Specialties, Holy Cross Women’s Health Institute, Holy Cross Breast & Plastic Surgery, and Holy Cross Primary Care.

Monthly Video Update

In an effort to help our community understand the changes happening in health care and at the hospital, we will be posting regular updates from the administration at Holy Cross Medical Center to help share information with the public.

Board Review – April, 2022

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