8 QUESTIONS FOR DAVID CONEJO
CEO of RMCHCS
By Fowler Roberts
Q. David, what got you interested in coming back to Gallup?
A. Well, originally a number of people told me that the hospital needed some assistance and I think, because of the work that we had done here over the years to serve the area, I was very interested in coming back and trying to restore that.
Q. What do you enjoy most about Gallup and the surrounding area?
A. I like the big billowy clouds and majestic scenery that we have and just the faces of the people that are here. There is just such a great visual softness to the area and there are very caring people.
Q. What do you see as the biggest challenge that faces that hospital going forward?
A. The biggest challenge for all rural hospitals is the decreasing reimbursement that is coming from all sectors. That squeezes the margin when the amount that you are collecting for services is reducing.
Q. What is your number one priority at this point?
A. Number one is the uncollected billing because the financial stability of the hospital depends on collection of billings. Number two, that goes along with that, is elevating the spirit of the people through a sound financial organization.
Q. What do you see the long-range potential of RMCHCS being?
A. One of the most exciting things that I have seen in the brief time that I’ve been back is the number of dedicated specialists and professionals that would like to move away from larger cities and get out to a rural area where they know the people they are serving and they feel a sense of accomplishment. We have the opportunity to elevate the whole level of service we provide. Years ago that wasn’t always the case; it was a few dedicated individuals, but there are more and more people now who would like to come out here.
Q. What do you enjoy doing in your off time?
A. The thing I most enjoy really is just doing landscaping around my yard and doing my yard work. I have other hobbies, such as getting out on some cross country bike rides, but I would have to say the enduring hobby I enjoy is the landscaping in my yard.
Q. What is your favorite movie and why?
A. I’d say Casablanca. I believe it expressed the difficulties that people faced in a time of war and staying true to their values. In the very end, Humphrey Bogart was able to do that.
Q. If you could trade places with one other person, either living or dead, who would it be and why?
A. I would have to say it would be my mother, Theresa. The thing that I loved about her is that she just had a trusting quality in people. She believed that we could pray for anything at anytime and that our prayers could be answered. When I was young I questioned that, but I have since found it to be true. I would like to have the faith that she had.