Head of new hospital sets up shop in Kingman

Duane Scholer wrapped up his second week in Kingman by visiting the Daily Miner on Friday to talk about Hualapai Mountain Medical Center, a new hospital that broke ground in January and which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2009.

In mid-February, MedCath, the Charlotte-based company building the hospital, named Scholer president of HMMC. It will be erected on Santa Rosa Drive between Interstate 40 and Airway Avenue.

Scholer was chief financial officer the past two years at MedCath-owned Heart Hospital of New Mexico in Albuquerque. He began work in Kingman on March 3 out of a temporary office at 1755 Airway Ave. and expects to move into an on-site trailer in two to three months.

"Among the things I'm doing now is meeting community members, getting to know (local) physicians and beginning the (doctor) recruiting process," Scholer said. "There's an individual at corporate doing much of the recruiting at present.

"It probably will be a year before we begin looking at other positions."

MedCath has built its reputation on excellence in cardiac care.

However, HMMC will be a general acute care hospital with 70 beds upon opening and shell space for 36 more.

Heart Hospital of New Mexico has moved into general acute care by expanding its service lines in the two years he was there to include urology, gynecology and is looking at orthopedics, Scholer said.

He was asked if HMMC would seek to become a trauma center, as severe cases currently are airlifted out of Kingman to hospitals in Phoenix or Las Vegas.

"I can't address that right now," Scholer said. "We'll have to see how the hospital develops and go for certification to become a trauma center."

Scholer said he expects to meet later this week with Brian Turney, chief executive officer of Kingman Regional Medical Center, for the first time. He said it would be an introductory-type meeting in which he wishes to establish a line of communication.

Where does he feel HMMC will be five years after opening?

"We'll be a quality health care resource and active member of the community," Scholer said.

HMMC will have a 24/7 emergency department with 22 beds, heart services, inpatient and outpatient surgery, intensive care, imaging and laboratory services, plus a pharmacy upon opening, Scholer previously said.