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 Hospital Improves Noninvasive Diagnostics With New CT Scanner

Holy Cross Hospital made a substantial upgrade last year with the addition of a state-of-the-art Philips Incisive CT Scanner to the hospital’s Imaging Department. The Incisive CT Scanner offers excellent imaging capabilities allowing patients to get advanced diagnostic procedures right here in Taos.

This CT scanner is an example of our ongoing commitment to the health of our community. Having a machine of this caliber in Taos means that our doctors and local practitioners can offer patients a noninvasive diagnostic option and know that they are going to get high quality images without having to leave Taos.”

– James Kiser, CEO Holy Cross Medical Center

According to Philips, one of the standout features of the Philips Incisive CT Scanner is its advanced image quality, which allows for detailed and precise scans. Equipped with the latest innovations in imaging technology this scanner delivers exceptional image clarity while minimizing radiation exposure for patients. This means that healthcare professionals in Taos can now obtain clearer and more accurate images, supporting more reliable diagnoses and better patient outcomes.

The Philips Incisive CT Scanner boasts remarkable speed and efficiency, enabling healthcare practitioners to perform scans quickly and seamlessly, reducing wait times for patients, and improving overall operational efficiency at the hospital. This translates to a better experience for patients and better utilization of resources, ultimately benefiting both patients and practitioners alike.

The old scanner obtained 64 slices at a time, this new one captures 128 which means you acquire data twice as fast. The speed and your ability to acquire data results in better images, which can lead to faster diagnosis.

– Dr. Peter Selzer, Diagnostic Radiologist

The Incisive CT Scanner offers a wide range of clinical applications, making it a versatile tool for diagnosing various medical conditions. Whether it’s detecting injuries, assessing internal organs, or evaluating the progression of diseases, this state-of-the-art scanner empowers local healthcare practitioners to address a diverse array of patient needs with confidence and precision.

The Philips Incisive CT Scanner installed at Holy Cross Hospital

When it comes to supporting heart health and diagnosing cardiac disease, CT is a fundamental imaging method. Last year, Holy Cross Medical Center expanded Cardiology services by welcoming Dr. Tiziano Scarabelli and his wife Carol Chen-Scarabelli to the team. By offering the incisive CT machine at Holy Cross Hospital, Dr. Scarabelli and his team are able to better assess and diagnose the heart health of patients right here in Taos. The incisive CT machine provides necessary temporal resolution for a coronary exam due to its very fast rotation speed.

How CT is Used in Cardiology

Written by Dr. Tiziano Scarabelli, Cardiologist at Holy Cross Cardiology

The coronary calcium score (CCS) and coronary CT angiogram (CCTA) are two important heart tests that can help us understand the heart health of our patients. 

The coronary calcium score, in simple terms, shows us how much calcium is in the heart’s arteries, called coronary arteries. The finding of calcium in the coronary arteries means only one thing: presence of hardened plaque that can cause narrowing of the coronary arteries, limiting the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart. The bigger the coronary calcium score,  the greater the risk of heart-related issues. Many research studies have shown a direct link between a high coronary calcium score and the likelihood of future heart problems. This score has an invaluable prognostic value, helping us predict heart attacks, strokes, and sudden cardiac death. It is like a crystal ball giving us a glimpse into the future of our patient’s heart.

On the other hand, a coronary CT angiogram is a powerful tool for diagnosis. It’s like a high-definition TV for the heart, providing detailed, 3D images of the heart and its blood vessels. These images allow us to closely examine the heart from all angles and see things we can’t see with other tests. The main role of a coronary CT angiogram is to diagnose heart conditions, particularly coronary artery disease. This is a condition where plaque, a substance made of fat, cholesterol, and other elements, builds up in the heart’s arteries. This build-up can narrow or block the arteries, reducing blood flow to the heart, and potentially leading to a heart attack. The CCTA lets us see these plaques and blockages, and even measure their size, explaining for instance whether the chest pain experienced by our patients is truly coming from the heart. In addition, a coronary CT angiogram can help diagnose other heart conditions, such as congenital heart defects, problems with the aorta, or issues with the heart valves. So in essence, a CCTA helps us to solve the mystery of what’s happening inside our patient’s heart, helping us decide what is the best treatment plan.

A coronary CT angiogram is more powerful than any other tests, such as nuclear stress tests and stress echocardiograms. In fact, the latest recommendations give the highest endorsement (class Ia) for the use of coronary CT angiogram in patients with chest pain, while treadmill stress test, nuclear stress test and stress echocardiogram have a slightly lower endorsement (class Ib).

CT Scan results from the fast 0.35 second rotation speed of the Philips Incisive CT Scanner

So, by using these two tests, we can not only predict potential heart problems but also diagnose them accurately and early, which is particularly beneficial for our rural community where access to advanced healthcare may be limited. Excerpt written by Dr. Tiziano Scarabelli, Cardiologist at Holy Cross Cardiology

The Philips Incisive CT Scanner is designed with patient comfort and safety in mind. Featuring innovative technologies such as Ambient Experience and VitalEye, the scanner enhances the patient experience by creating a soothing and reassuring environment during scans. Its low-dose imaging capabilities prioritize patient safety by minimizing radiation exposure without compromising image quality, ensuring that patients receive the highest standard of care throughout their diagnostic journey.

The upgrade to the Philips Incisive CT Scanner represents a significant leap forward for Holy Cross and local health care practitioners. With its excellent imaging capabilities, speed, efficiency, and commitment to patient safety and comfort, this scanner is poised to meet the needs of diagnostic procedures and elevate the standard of care for patients in the region. As Holy Cross Hospital embraces constantly evolving healthcare technology, the community can access some of the very best in medical imaging services right in their own backyard.

Referrals are needed for CT scans. Just know that if you are in need of a CT Scan, there is a high quality option right here in Taos.

Dr. Mary Jo Young Brings Compassionate Primary Care to Taos

In 2023 Holy Cross Medical Center held a community-wide survey asking Taos County residents which services they would like to see expanded to better support the health of locals. The number one response highlighted a strong need for expanded primary care access. In a significant addition to the healthcare options in Taos, Dr. Mary Jo Young, an experienced primary care physician, has joined the team at Holy Cross Medical Center. Her journey from growing up in Europe to becoming a dedicated healthcare professional in Taos is an interesting story that reflects her passion for providing comprehensive and compassionate care to individuals and families.

Dr. Mary Jo Young, Primary Care Doctor standing next to a large stone sign for the primary care office.
Dr. Mary Jo Young, Primary Care – Taos, NM

Dr. Young’s international upbringing shaped her diverse perspective on life. Growing up in Germany, Italy, and Belgium, with an American mother and a German father, she developed a broad cultural understanding that would later contribute to her approach to healthcare. At age 18, she moved to the United States. Her educational journey began at Wellesley College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology, followed by a master’s in Pharmacology from Harvard. Realizing her heart was not committed to research, Dr. Young started working as a health educator in High Schools where she started a peer education troupe.

Upon turning 30, Dr. Young felt compelled to change her career path, prompting a move to Colorado to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor. Four years of medical school at the University of Colorado and three years of residency later, she was working as a hospitalist at St. Anthony Central Hospital in Denver. After a year spent as a hospitalist, she realized her true calling in primary care, and began a journey towards becoming a respected primary care internist in Denver.

In 2021, life took another turn for Dr. Young when her partner retired, prompting her to reevaluate her priorities. The lure of Taos, where the couple enjoyed vacations and weekends, became irresistible. They decided to make Taos their home, and Dr. Young soon realized that retirement wasn’t for her – she loved to work, and it was her passion for caring for people that truly defined her.

A call to Holy Cross Hospital revealed a shared interest in expanding primary care services in Taos, and thus began Dr. Young’s new journey in caring for our community. She is pleased to provide primary care for both men and women, with a commitment to continuity of care.

One of the key aspects of Dr. Young’s approach is her deep connection with patients. Describing her relationship with them as a partnership, she values understanding their life stories and believes in aligning their health goals with evidence-based western allopathic medicine. In a community where alternative medicine is prevalent, Dr. Young excels in evidence based preventative care and strives to work collaboratively with her patients.

When asked about her favorite aspect of the job, Dr. Young expresses joy in getting to know people and understanding the intricate connection between their life stories and health. Her passion extends to mental health, an area she believes is crucial for overall well-being. As an active member of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), she recognizes the challenges in Taos County. While she does not provide mental healthcare, she understands the delicate interaction between mental health and physical health.

Dr. Young lives in Taos with her partner and their labradoodle, Juno. Beyond her medical expertise, Dr. Young is a lover of skiing, the outdoors, and art. Her affinity for fabric arts, including making quilts, reflects her creativity and the importance she places on the intersection of mental and physical health.

Dr. Mary Jo Young is committed to providing compassionate and comprehensive primary care. Her diverse background, passion for patient relationships, and dedication to long-term care make her a welcome presence in our vibrant community. Learn more about Holy Cross Primary Care at www.TaosPrimaryCare.org or by calling (575) 737-3415.

Five members of the primary care clinic team at Holy Cross standing in a row.
Dr. Mary Jo Young and Dr. Ellen Ouellette with some of the team at Holy Cross Primary Care

Learn more and schedule your appointment!

Call: (575)-737-3415

Holy Cross Medical Center’s Community Health Services in 2023

As the calendar turns a page, it’s a time not just for resolutions and fresh starts but also for reflection. Looking back on the accomplishments of the past year at Holy Cross Medical Center brings a sense of pride in the services and support provided to our community. From the Holy Cross Benefit Navigation program, assisting countless individuals in understanding and securing health insurance, to the Children’s Trust Fund program’s nurturing of over 120 families through an array of classes and support groups, the strides made are truly remarkable. Taos Cancer Support Services stood as a pillar of strength for 181 community members affected by cancer in 2023. The First Steps program, dedicated to early childhood development, reached 260 families through 2,010 home visits, fostering a positive foundation for our youngest community members. Taos Alive continued its invaluable work in preventing substance use among Taos County youth, engaging with over 3,000 community members. Additionally, the Rural OB Access & Maternal Services program continued to improve maternal care in rural areas, leveraging telehealth to bridge gaps in access and support for expecting mothers. As we embark on the new year, it’s with a sense of gratitude and determination that we encourage continued engagement with these vital resources that Holy Cross Medical Center proudly offers to our community.

Benefit Navigation

The Benefit Navigation program of Holy Cross Hospital is here to help the citizens of our community understand their health insurance enrollment options and provide application assistance. The services of this program are absolutely free and can help you better understand your insurance benefits as well as help you understand what insurance you are eligible for. Megan Lopez is the new Benefit Navigator and is here to assist people with education, applications, and health insurance enrollments. If you need support signing up for health insurance or have questions about the system, call Benefit Navigation at (575) 751-5848.

Children’s Trust Fund

The Children’s Trust Fund program offers free classes and groups to support parenting. All classes are offered in English and Spanish and they collaborate with various agencies in the community to make sure families are connected to services. In 2023 the program was able to provide classes and services to over 120 families through 12 classes, 2 monthly support groups, 2 healthy snack classes, 1 cooking class, and a Parenting with Emotional Intelligence community building activity that consisted of skill building to cope with the challenges of parenting. Contact Carla to register for our free classes: (575) 751-8904 or email cvigil@taoshospital.org

Taos Cancer Support Services

The Taos Cancer Support Services (TCSS) program exists to serve the needs of people with cancer in the greater Taos area, and provide non-medical support to ease the burden and promote healing. The team can connect individuals with trusted local, state, and national services to help meet basic needs, ease stress, and promote healing while also supporting tangible needs that arise due to treatments being outside of our local community. This year TCSS has been able to support 181 community members struggling with cancer and have provided over 1,011 encounters of supportive care over the year. TCSS is funded by grants, donations, and fundraising. Thanks to the generous support from our community, the team was able to raise close to $102,395 dollars from donations and grants this year. These donations support people impacted by cancer in the Taos area. Find information at www.TaosCancerSupport.org

First Steps

The First Steps program provides free home visiting services to parents of children ages prenatal to five, including fathers, adoptive parents, and foster families in Taos, northern Rio Arriba, and western Colfax counties. Home visiting services provide parents with information, support, and access to resources in our community that promote early childhood development and a positive family foundation. In 2023 the team at First Steps provided support for approximately 260 families and provided over 2,010 home visits. There are currently eight home visitors on their team. Five of the eight home visitors are bilingual, and they have been able to provide hybrid service throughout the year to meet the needs of as many families as possible. First Steps has also partnered with the Taos library to provide an English Storytime on Thursdays and a Bilingual Storytime on Mondays for families. Our goal is for all families in our community to have access to the services they need to support them as they raise their family. www.TaosFirstSteps.org

Taos Alive

The award-winning Taos Alive Coalition unites the community to plan and implement strategies that prevent and reduce substance use and its consequences among Taos County youth. In 2023 Taos Alive provided in-school Botvin Life-Skills education to over 2,500 students in schools through-out the county and also provided the broader public with training on opioid overdose response and the use of Narcan. Taos Alive understands that involvement in positive activities helps greatly to reduce youth substance use and for that reason they provide activity enrollment support as well. Taos alive would like to remind families that the influence of adults in the lives of children is huge. Please set a healthy example for your youth. You are their superhero. www.TaosAlive.org

Rural OB Access & Maternal Services (ROAMS)

The ROAMS program was one of the first awardees in the country for the Rural Maternity & Obstetrics Management Strategies 2019 pilot program funded by Human Resource Services Administration and Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. ROAMS Obstetric (OB) telehealth and maternal support services showed promising results in improving OB medical access and overcoming Social Determinants of Health for rural mothers and their children. The ROAMS Community Health Workers served 325 clients and the Lactation Counselors served 300 new mothers and their babies at no charge. In addition to maintaining the existing services through 2024, ROAMS will set up two Tele-Maternal Fetal Medicine (Tele-MFM) services from Taos and Raton, so that rural mothers can access their high-risk specialist from nearby OB clinics, rather than driving every month to Santa Fe or Albuquerque. www.roamsnm.org

Holy Cross Medical Center is honored to offer all of these free programs and services to the community. If you or someone you know could benefit from these programs, you can learn more at HolyCrossMedicalCenter.org

Holy Cross Medical Center Extends Support to Veterans with TriWest Insurance

In honor of Veterans Day, on November 10th, Holy Cross Hospital hosted a free lunch in the hospital cafeteria for the Veterans of Taos County as a gesture of gratitude to the brave men and women of our community that served in the armed forces. Their selflessness, dedication, and sacrifice deserve our utmost respect. In Taos, we are fortunate to have a community enriched by the contributions of our Veterans, who have not only defended our nation but have also played an integral role in shaping the fabric of our local society. As we reflect on the significance of Veterans Day, let us take a moment to recognize and appreciate the indomitable spirit of our Veterans, whose courage and commitment continue to inspire us all. Thank you for your service, sacrifice, and the enduring example of honor you bring to Taos County.

Staff from Holy Cross Medical Center: Julian Jaramillo (US Army & NM National Guard), Victor “Chico” Estrada (US Army), James Kiser, and Vivian Santistevan (US Army) at the first annual Veterans lunch held on November 10th, 2023

“Inviting our Taos County Veterans to join us for a free meal and sharing in that camaraderie with Veterans from all branches and eras of service, was such an honor to host,” said Vivian Santistevan, Chief Human Resources Officer and a retired US Army Veteran. “When our CEO, James Kiser announced that HCMC is now accepting TriWest and the Veterans lunch would be an annual event, the 65 Veterans who attended the meal sounded off with a resounding Hoorah!”

Holy Cross Hospital is proud to announce that TriWest Healthcare Alliance insurance is now accepted at the hospital as well as the Holy Cross outpatient clinics. Holy Cross Medical Center is not only reinforcing its commitment to Veterans but is also playing a pivotal role in ensuring that they can access the healthcare they deserve without having to leave Taos.

By becoming a member of the TriWest network, Holy Cross Medical Center is not only offering access to emergency services to Veterans, it is opening the door to its extended network of clinics. This means that Veterans will now be able to utilize services from Holy Cross Hospital, Women’s Health Institute, Taos Surgical Specialties, Taos Primary Care, and Holy Cross Cardiology. This broadens the spectrum of healthcare services available to Veterans within Taos. Whether it’s routine medical check-ups, specialized treatments, or urgent care needs, Veterans can now access a continuum of care at various locations across Taos.

TriWest insurance, which serves as a primary conduit for Veterans to access healthcare through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), is widely recognized for its comprehensive coverage. By accepting TriWest, Holy Cross is not only opening its doors to Veterans but is also aligning itself with a network that understands and caters to the unique healthcare needs of those who have served in the armed forces.

For Veterans residing in Taos, the integration of TriWest insurance at Holy Cross and its affiliated clinics brings a host of benefits. One such benefit is eliminating the need for Veterans to travel long distances for medical care. Veterans often face challenges accessing specialized services within their local communities, necessitating long trips to VA facilities out of town. Now, with TriWest coverage accepted at Holy Cross, Veterans can receive high-quality, specialized care without the need to leave Taos. “Holy Cross has already received so much gratitude from Veterans in our community. I have had several say how appreciative they are, not having to make regular burdensome trips to Santa Fe and Albuquerque. We are grateful for their service and they are grateful we are able to serve them, in some small way.” Said James Kiser, CEO of Holy Cross Medical Center.

This initiative goes beyond mere convenience; it underscores Holy Cross Medical Center’s commitment to community health. By expanding the range of accepted insurance plans, the medical center is contributing to the overall well-being of the community it serves. The decision to include Holy Cross Hospital and its outpatient clinics in the TriWest network aligns with Holy Cross’ broader mission to improve healthcare accessibility for all residents of Taos. Holy Cross is proud to provide care for those who have sacrificed for our country.

Meet Dr. Steven Slikkers, Holy Cross Medical Center Surgeon

Dr. Steven Slikkers is a Board-Certified general surgeon and practiced in Michigan for 18 years before joining the team at Holy Cross Surgical Specialties. Steven graduated from the Loma Linda School of Medicine in 1999 and completed a 5-year residency at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota.

After his residency at the Mayo Clinic, Steven became one of five partners at Grand Traverse Surgery, a private practice surgical group. After fourteen years of private practice, the partners dissolved the practice and joined the team at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City, MI.

Dr. Slikkers joined the medical team at Holy Cross Medical Center in 2022. Call Holy Cross Surgical Specialties at (575) 758-3141 or visit www.TaosSurgery.org

Holy Cross Women’s Health Institute Welcomes Dr. Casey Smith

Dr. Tim Moore, has spent his career as a dedicated obstetrician and gynecologist. He has touched countless lives and has left an indelible mark on the health of our community. Having made Taos his home in 2007, Dr. Moore began providing care with Holy Cross in 2008. With an impressive career spanning 41 years in the field of obstetrics and gynecology, Dr. Moore’s retirement this year marks the end of an era in the medical community. Before gracing Taos with his expertise, he had delivered over 5,000 babies, showcasing his profound commitment to the miracle of life. His legacy as a compassionate healer and his tireless dedication to the well-being of mothers and their newborns will be cherished by the Taos community for years to come. Dr. Moore’s retirement is a bittersweet moment, but as we bid him farewell, we can celebrate his remarkable contributions to our town. The Taos community is also welcoming a new OBGYN, Dr. Casey Smith, ensuring that the tradition of compassionate and skilled healthcare in women’s and maternal health continues to thrive in Taos.

Recruiting high-quality, experienced physicians is becoming increasingly difficult for rural communities. Luckily, Taos is a natural draw for outdoor enthusiasts and has a healthcare infrastructure that attracts great talent. Holy Cross Women’s Health Institute is proud to welcome Dr. Casey Smith, OB/GYN. 

Dr. Casey Smith, OB/GYN
Dr. Casey Smith, OB/GYN

Born and raised in Albuquerque, Dr. Smith’s journey to medicine was anything but conventional. After completing a bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of New Mexico, she embarked on a career as a fish biologist, venturing into the remote corners of New Mexico, California, and even rural Alaska. Dr. Smith’s time spent in remote areas gave her a firsthand look at the health disparities faced by rural communities.

“I saw the barriers to healthcare access that many rural communities faced during my time as a fish biologist,” Dr. Smith explained. “It was a transformative experience that ignited a desire in me to make a difference in the lives of those who often go unheard.”

With newfound purpose, Dr. Smith made the courageous decision to switch gears and pursue a career in medicine. Her goal was clear: to advocate for individuals and communities in need. Dr. Smith’s  journey brought her to medical school, where she discovered a true calling in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

“Obstetrics and Gynecology felt like a natural fit for me,” Dr. Smith shared. “I realized that by positively impacting women’s lives through healthcare, I could create a ripple effect that would benefit not only the women themselves, but also their families and communities.”

Dr. Smith’s passion for women’s health is deeply rooted in her desire to provide holistic and continuous care. Dr. Smith is honored to bring her surgical experience to Taos and cherishes the relationships she gets to build with women. From adolescence to childbearing and through the golden years, Dr. Smith is committed to being a trusted healthcare partner throughout life’s various stages.

“It’s incredibly gratifying to offer surgical procedures that can restore patients’ well-being and help them feel great again. Being a part of that transformation is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job.”

Dr. Smith & Dr. Moore in front of Women’s Health Institute.

Choosing to settle in Taos was a natural decision for Dr. Smith. The town’s proximity to the breathtaking mountains and the vibrant blend of cultures resonated with Dr. Smith and her family. They feel privileged to call Taos their new home and are excited to contribute to the well-being of the community.

Outside of her medical career, Dr. Smith is an avid outdoor enthusiast. Hiking, running, biking, cross-country skiing, rafting, and snowboarding are just a few of the activities that allow her to connect with the picturesque landscapes of Taos and the surrounding areas.

Dr. Smith’s unique journey from fish biologist to physician is a testament to the power of following one’s heart and the positive impact it can have on the lives of many. With a special blend of experiences, a passion for women’s health, and her dedication to the well-being of the community Dr. Smith is excited to contribute to the healthcare of Northern New Mexico.

Please join Holy Cross in thanking Dr. Moore for the care he has provided, and welcoming Dr. Smith to the community.

Holy Cross Women’s Health Institute is your complete resource for women’s health care in Taos. From well-woman exams to family planning to osteoporosis care, WHI is here for all the women of Taos and northern New Mexico, at all stages of life and health. To learn more about Women’s Health Institute, visit taoswomenshealth.com or call: (575) 737-3415