KUNM

Marisa Demarco

Public Health New Mexico Reporter

Marisa Demarco is a reporter and musician based in Albuquerque, N.M. She's spent more than a decade in journalism, founding the New Mexico Compass, and editing and writing for the Weekly Alibi, the Albuquerque Tribune and UNM's Daily Lobo. She covers poverty and public health for KUNM. 

Ways to Connect

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Ads raising awareness about the overdose-reversing drug naloxone will be appearing on the sides of buses around Albuquerque. It’s available over-the-counter now—but only at pharmacies willing to carry the medication.

Wikipedia via CC

KUNM Call In Show 3/31 8a:

The winds have picked up, pollen counts are high, and people around the state are coping with stuffed sinuses, respiratory troubles, and puffy eyes. We’ll talk to experts who help people find both natural and pharmaceutical solutions to these daily woes. Plus, we’ll learn about why plants have such a devastating effect on us.

pixabay via CC

Bioethical questions around the use of fetal tissue in research have been central to a House panel’s investigation, but opponents say it’s all political theater aimed at restricting abortion. The debate is unfolding in New Mexico, as both an Albuquerque abortion clinic and researchers here respond to that panel’s queries.

Courtesy of Dr. Fiona Sinclair

  In order to help babies that are born too early, you’ve got to experiment on fetal tissue. At least that’s what scientists say. A House panel investigation of this kind of research has raised its profile. We went to the University of New Mexico Hospital to find out how fetal tissue is used.

Pecos Enterprise, Smokey Briggs / Courtesy of The Nation

The number of people being prosecuted for illegally crossing the border has risen drastically over the last couple of decades. And the penalty can include lengthy stays behind bars. But where do all these inmates go? 

Wikimedia via CC / creative commons license

University of New Mexico regents voted Monday, March 14, to put themselves in charge of the Health Sciences Center despite public objections to the sudden shift.

Rae Allen via Compfight CC

How quickly criminal cases work their way through the system has a big impact on defendants’ lives. And it’s been a little over a year since the state Supreme Court first set deadlines to speed things up and clear thousands of backlogged cases in Bernalillo County, the state’s busiest judicial district. The criminal justice system is still adjusting.

Wikimedia via CC

More than half a million people in the state make use of food stamps. Federal judges ordered the state on Monday, March 7, to halt work requirements for the program.  

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

The Legislature found more money for health care this year than it did last year, but it’s still not enough to cover the costs of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. A group of advocates and associations from all corners of the health care system met on Friday to grapple with the projected shortfall.

wikipedia via CC

A congressional panel investigating fetal tissue exchange held its first hearing this week, and among the topics of debate: Should institutions be forced to turn over a list of names of the people involved? Officials at the University of New Mexico have expressed concerns about doing so.

youtube via CC

The state’s Medicaid Advisory Committee is meeting Friday afternoon in Santa Fe to talk about budget shortfalls. 

One lawmaker called it the tightest budget in memory after the legislative session ended last month. And advocates are warning that Medicaid will be millions short, which could mean higher fees for low-income patients, lower rates for providers and limited job growth in the health care field. About 40 percent of the state’s population is covered by Medicaid after the expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

Public Library of Science via CC

A congressional committee that is investigating abortion providers nationally that supply fetal tissue to researchers asked several clinics to hand over documents. On Monday, an Albuquerque clinic provided just about all of the info that was requested—except for one thing.

wikimedia via CC

New Mexico has one of the highest overdose death rates in the country, and recent spikes in the state’s numbers have been linked to the abuse of prescription opiates. But a drug that reverses overdoses is about to become more widely available.

Zack McCarthy via CC

Behavioral health funding in New Mexico took about a $4 million hit at the end of last week’s legislative session. But the Human Services Department may have asked for even less money than that.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

The legislative session ended at noon on Thursday, Feb. 18, and even though funding was scarce, lawmakers found money to process sexual assault evidence that’s been piling up around the state. 

West Midlands Police via CC

In the final hours of the 2016 session, lawmakers are scrambling to push legislation through and finish the budget. Several measures would address the almost 5,500 untested rape kits in the state, including one that creates a task force to help survivors and ensure their rights.

All ~ Troy via Compfight

Changes to the way the courts handle bail passed both chambers of the state Legislature as of Wednesday morning and will be on the ballot in November. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

More than 20 organizations joined together Tuesday to call on lawmakers not to cut funding for behavioral health services. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

In the final days of the 2016 session, lawmakers are trying to figure out how to deal with a tight budget caused by plummeting oil and gas prices. 

Daniel Schwen / CC-BY-SA 4.0

UPDATED 2/16 7a:

Several groups that were in favor of a bail reform measure are yanking their support after a House committee amended it Monday, Feb. 15. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 2/18 8a: 

  

The state’s attorney general cleared just about all of the providers accused of Medicaid fraud a couple of years ago—but the news didn’t come soon enough to keep many of their doors open.

Neil Conway via CC

UPDATE: The Associated Press is reporting that New Mexico House Republicans and Senate Democrats say they have reached a compromise on a bail reform proposal.

Both sides spoke Friday at a press conference, with Republican Rep. David Adkins saying the bill crafted by Sen. Peter Wirth, a Santa Fe Democrat, is the "right piece of legislation to support."

KUNM

Presbyterian Medical Services was cleared of fraud allegations by the Attorney General’s Office on Monday. The nonprofit won’t be getting a refund on millions it paid to stay open after the state made those accusations in 2013.

Glowing Brain via CC

Ten behavioral health agencies were cleared of fraud on Monday, Feb. 8, by the New Mexico attorney general. The AG’s Office found no deliberate pattern of abuse.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

When Native American people move to Albuquerque from more rural parts of the state, some say the transition can be tough. And a community center that provides basic resources is in danger of shutting its doors. 

James Tourtellotte via CC

    

There were 5,406 untested sexual assault evidence kits in the state at the end of last year, according to the state auditor. A pair of bills to tackle the problem cleared their first hurdles on Tuesday, Feb. 2.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

The state Legislature is working up a budget, and one proposal on the table would cut more than $8 million from behavioral health services. Residents who’ve been deeply affected by drug use in their communities called on lawmakers Saturday, Jan. 30, not to cut the funding that combats it.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

    

The rate of drug overdose deaths—nationally and statewide—is racing up the charts, echoing HIV trends of 30 years ago, according to the CDC. That’s why demonstrators in Santa Fe on Saturday asked legislators not to erode resources that fight substance abuse. 

teakwood via CC

In the latest round of the ongoing fight about food stamps, a lawsuit filed Wednesday, Jan. 27, aims to halt new work requirements. 

Ken Lund via Flickr CC

The Constitution guarantees criminal defendants the right to a speedy trial. But how speedy is speedy? The Supreme Court agreed on Wednesday, Jan. 27, to alter controversial rules that sped up criminal cases in the state’s most populous county. 

Pages