$2M USDA Infusion Will Help Finish Off Trinidad’s Mt. San Rafael Hospital Modernization

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The Mt. San Rafael Hospital in Trinidad, Colo., Sept. 3, 2018.

Trinidad's Mt. San Rafael Hospital has secured nearly $2 million to complete and expand medical services through a program aimed at rural development.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's community facilities direct loan and grant program provides low-interest direct loans, grants and combination funding to help essential services like public safety and health care facilities.

In the 2019 fiscal year, Mt. San Rafael Hospital received more than $32 million from the program to update the facility. This additional $2 million covers final construction costs for the upgrades.

Kim Lucero, the hospital's director of planning and development, said the total funds will help expand services to the 15,000 people in and around Las Animas County.

The hospital hasn't undergone any major upgrades since it opened in the 1970s and modern medical practices are "very different than 50 years ago," Lucero noted.

Upgrades include a new 14-bed medical unit, a larger capacity emergency room and a center for people who need blood transfusions or antibiotics. Lucero also said the hospital hopes to partner with an oncology center to provide chemotherapy in Trinidad.

Lucero said patients who typically receive chemotherapy have to travel to Pueblo, Colorado Springs or even Denver. With the hospital's expansion, people will be able to access those treatments closer to home.

The hospital's capital improvement project launched in 2018 and the upgrades are slated to be done in late November.