Rio Rancho medical center to get rid of NICU this summer

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – Big changes are coming to Presbyterian Rust Medical Center this summer. They’re going to be getting rid of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the only NICU in Sandoval County.

Former patient Colette Collins said they saved her baby’s life.

“I found out at about 20 weeks that I had a condition that was going to cause me to have a c-section with my baby,” she said.

Collins spent a portion of her pregnancy at Presbyterian Hospital in downtown Albuquerque. She then was able to transfer to a more convenient location, the NICU at Rust Medical Center in Rio Rancho.

Collins had a condition called Vasa Pravia, forcing her to have Baby Nora six weeks early.

“No parent wants to have their child in the NICU of course, but we had an amazing experience while there. The doctors, the nurses, everyone was just wonderful,” she said.

This August, the NICU is going away.

“This just hasn’t been a sustainable service for us within Rust Medical Center,” said campus admin Angela Ward. “Due to external factors like the struggling state economy, and the declining birth rate, and the loss of the Sandoval County mill levy tax.”

The news was upsetting to Collins.

“It’s sad for all of us here on the west side that were able to have more of a convenient location to have our babies there and know that they’re well taken cared for,” she said.

A NICU employee who did not want to talk on camera is worried management doesn’t have its priorities straight. She said patients deserve quality care close to home.

The hospital said they’re working to transition all employees to other positions within Presbyterian.

“This is no reflection of the care. Our birthing services will continue, and they can expect that same phenomenal care,” said Ward.

Existing patients will be transferred to the downtown Presbyterian Hospital. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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