After five years of waiting, Taos finally has a new and improved clinic for children.

Pediatrician Dr. Sylvia Villarael, who originally brought attention to the dire need for a new children's clinic, was onhand to cut the ribbon to the new building adjacent to Holy Cross Hospital Wednesday (Aug. 18) along with Gov. Bill Richardson.

"Where would we be without people taking care of our children?" Villarael said. "We are familia. This is how we do it."

Ron Burnham, the chairman of the Holy Cross Hospital board, said the project would never have happened without Villarael.

"The Taos Clinic for Children and Youth has been such a part of the fabric of the community that the thought of not having it is unthinkable," Burnham said.

Villarael also said that the same model that got the clinic built — a collaboration of Holy Cross Hospital, the Town of Taos and small businesses — could be applied to local health care.

"About five years ago, we started saying that 80 percent of our patients are on Medicaid. We are in crisis mode," Villarael said. "Now we need to look at who's going to support us. Let's look at that because we can't depend on the government or private individuals to do it. We have to support each other."

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