Covenant clinic to close in August

Jack King

The Covenant Family Health Care Center in Clovis will close on Aug. 1, the center’s office manager said Friday.
Mary Cox, the center’s office manager said the center will close, but its doctors — three pediatricians and a family practice specialist — will remain in Clovis. She said the center has 18 employees, but added, “they probably will be able to go wherever the doctors go.”
According to Covenant Assistant Vice President Lowell Lay, the company had sought to work with Roosevelt General Hospital in Portales to convert the center into a rural health clinic, but doctors at the Clovis center chose not to participate in the rural health clinic.
Roosevelt General Hospital Administrator James D’Agostino said March 27 the hospital had just begun the process of applying for status as a rural healthcare clinic, which would allow it to operate the Clovis center.
“That transition has not been made,” he said. “Our hospital fits the criteria under the Rural Healthcare Act to apply for a rural health clinic license, but it’s up to the feds to issue the license.”
D’Agostino said he is sure the appropriate state and federal agencies will issue the license, but added he didn’t want to announce Roosevelt Hospital would run the clinic until the process is complete.
Under the Rural Healthcare Act, status as a rural health clinic would mean Roosevelt General Hospital and the Clovis center could get more Medicare funds, D’Agostino said.
The Clovis center is one of seven facilities in New Mexico and Texas Lubbock-based Covenant said it wanted to convert to rural health clinics. It announced in March it was dissolving its relationship with six other facilities in New Mexico and Texas.
A Covenant spokeswoman said in March continuing cuts in payments to Medicare and Medicaid programs, coupled with a rising number of uninsured patients, has made operating the healthcare center networks “much more tenuous” for Covenant.