CARF Rehab Award, Residency Program, Patient Safety Award and Exoneration By CMS
By Luis Robles, a 30 year legal veteran and partner in Robles, Rael and Anya, an award-winning law firm of 12 jurists located in Albuquerque, N.M.
Despite the summer termination of former CEO David Conejo and departure of 10 directors, Rehoboth McKinley Christian Healthcare Services (RMCHCS) continues to benefit from the foresight, winning strategies and business acumen of its previous leadership. The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) one of the most complex and financially beneficial programs for behavioral health care services in the world, plans to recommend a 3-year accreditation of the WellSpring Rehabilitation Center based on surveys conducted by its governing board of commissioners. Final approval from the governing board is expected to be received in 6-8 weeks.
In addition to the accreditation, the hospital reached the highest level with triple compliments for its greenhouse, sweat lodge and hogan which reflect the cultural amenities of its many Native American constituents. The CARF analysts also noted the center’s corn fields, wellness center and Healing Hands Art Studio.
In order for the hospital to achieve this award, Conejo and his team had to meet 300 points of care to achieve certification. The program was implemented by former CEO David Conejo in 2015. Conejo was assisted by Executive Director Anita Alaniz, Executive Program Director Bernice Martinez and Aftercare Program Director William Camarota. Many of the staff were fired at the direction of Board Chair Laura Hammons and have filed multiple lawsuits against the hospital.
CARF is an independent, nonprofit organization focused on advancing the quality of services to meet the needs for the best possible outcomes. It provides accreditation services worldwide at the request of health and human service providers who administer rehabilitation for a disability, treatment for substance abuse, home and community services, retirement living, or other health and human services. Providers that meet our standards have demonstrated their commitment to being among the best available.
Medical Residency Program
In addition to CARF accreditation, Conejo oversaw the family medicine residency program from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). The ACGME monitors and sets U.S. professional educational standards in preparing physicians to deliver medical care. The approval allows future doctors to receive their residency training in a real-world medical facility at RMCHCS’s College Clinic.
RMCHC’s College Clinic will provide specialized training in rural and Native American healthcare to serve the Navajo Nation, Pueblo of Zuni and others. Resident physicians will learn about conditions that disproportionately affect Native Americans such as diabetes and asthma. They will also learn skills as well such as how to treat patients who may not always have access to things like running water and refrigeration.
The medical residency program requires participants to serve 2-3 years and will enable those who have graduated from medical school to receive healthcare training in areas underserved by physicians. This type of program acclimates them to the community in hopes they will open medical practices that will serve residents.
Patient Safety Excellence Award Five Years Running
Under Conejo’s leadership, RMCHCS was also the first and the only hospital in New Mexico honored with a “Patient Safety Excellence Award” for five consecutive years. The award by Healthgrades, the leading US provider of comparable data on approximately 4,500 acute care hospitals and more than three million physicians, ranked RMCHCS in the top 10 percent of the nation’s hospitals for patient safety.
Conejo has also been absolved of any allegations of mismanagement by the federal government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).