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Star-studded event supports Boys and Girls Club

SAFFORD — The stars were shining Saturday night, as leaders from throughout the community gathered at the Branding Iron restaurant for the inaugural Denim & Diamonds Gala to support the Boys & Girls Club of the Gila Valley.

Officials said the generosity of the more than 80 people who attended the event exceeded the goal of raising $20,000 for the club, which provides a safe place for children to go after school, get help with homework and engage in community service projects.

“We feel that, for a first-time event, it was a success and hope to improve on that in the future with the help of our supporters from the community,” said Tracy Botkins, Boys & Girls Club board member and organizer of the event. “This event would not have been a success without the support of our local businesses and individuals who donated items. I personally want to say, ‘Thank you,’ to each and every one of them.”

Special guest was boxing referee Tony Weeks, of Las Vegas, who has officiated almost 800 bouts in his 25-year career. Guest speakers at the event were former club director Michael Gaines, Carrie Gilbert and the current club director Mick Ruiz

Title sponsors were Freeport-McMoRan and Rex/OBGYN, followed by III Counties Distributing and Desert Cross Veterinary. Other sponsors included Copper Hills Dental, IMM (Independent Mine Maintenance), CMI, Gila Valley Clinic, Paul David, Danny Smith, Scott Bennett, Kempton Chevrolet, Open Loop, La Paloma and Arizona Dodge.

Donations for raffle ticket and silent auction items came from Susan Decker, Durrty Design, Ginaveve’s/John and Jenny Howard, EA Glass, Kempton Chevrolet, Desert Cross Veterinary, Real Deals, Firing Pin, Copper Steer Steakhouse, American Mattress, Walmart, Big O Tire/Preston Alder, Miller Lite, Gila Outdoor, Mack Auto Supply, Toney Weeks Art, Thomas and Tabetha Aranda, Rebecca Ornelas, Brian Andrews and David Perkins.

MGRMC seeks critical access designation

SAFFORD — “What you currently have, what you like about the hospital, you will still have. That will not change.”

With that statement by spokesman Ryan Rapier, Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center announced last week it was seeking critical access designation.

“Becoming a critical access hospital affects the way we’re paid by Medicare/Medicaid,” Rapier said.

Critical access designation for hospitals was created in 1997 specifically to address the issue of reimbursement to rural hospitals. Instead of changing reimbursement rates for services provided under Medicare and Medicaid, the hospital will be paid cost plus an additional percentage once the designation is in place.

In addition, the hospital will also be eligible to receive federal funds for infrastructure and capital medical equipment purchases.

“MGRMC wishes to stress that this new designation will result in absolutely no change to the current hospital services provided in Graham and Greenlee counties. The Critical Access Hospital designation will allow MGRMC to expand current services as well as add new services, but no care currently provided at the hospital will be negatively impacted,” a statement from the hospital read.

Rapier said once the designation is in place and federal funds are allocated, the hospital plans to construct a new medical office building that will provide additional office and clinic space on the hospital campus.

Rapier did not have a timeline on when the hospital expects to learn whether the change in designation has been approved.