By Sal Christ
Health care on Albuquerque's Westside is growing — so much so that Lovelace Westside Hospital in on track to more than double its patient volume in pediatric dentistry this year.
According to CEO Farron Sneed, the hospital, located at 10501 Golf Course Rd. NW, saw 211 patients during 2014 and has already treated 214 pediatric patients as of July 1, 2015. While a number of factors have contributed to the growth, Sneed says the hospital is essentially just responding to need in the area.
"For the Westside Hospital, we’ve been providing pediatric dentistry since before 2012. Last year we recognized a greater need than what we were already serving, so we worked with our dentists to see what we could do to expand capacity," Sneed said. "We’re expecting to stay on pace or more than double our patient volume by the end of the year and as long as there’s a need, we see that volume increasing," he said.
Although a direct correlation is difficult to gauge, Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Care Act have helped shuttle more patients to the hospital, and according to hospital representatives, many of those patients are coming from rural areas of the state. In accommodating greater patient capacity, the hospital hired at least two new full-time equivalent employees to help support the pediatric dentistry unit and increased the breadth of anesthesia service available to the hospital.
The growth in patient volume comes at a time when more and more health care providers are expanding their presence on the Westside and in Rio Rancho.Presbyterian Rust Medical Center continues to build its second patient tower and earlier this month, a collaboration between a number of organizations — including Presbyterian Rust and UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center — was announced at the NAIOP Rio Rancho Roundtable.
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