Public Health New Mexico

KUNM's Public Health New Mexico reporting project provides in-depth, investigative and continuous coverage of public health in New Mexico, with an emphasis on poverty. For all articles and web exclusive content, go to publichealthnm.org 

Nikolai Vassiliev / Creative Commons via Flickr

Health insurance can be complicated and understanding how to get covered can be difficult. Students at a specialized charter school in Albuquerque are producing podcasts to help people navigate the health insurance system.

Ed Williams

Mountain View, a neighborhood in the Rio Grande Valley south of Albuquerque, is one of the most environmentally burdened communities in New Mexico. There are dozens of industrial facilities, and hardly any places for kids to play outside. With heavy traffic and no sidewalks, just walking home can be dangerous.

But some of that is changing, with the help of a new wildlife refuge.  

Darko Stojanovich via Pixabay / Creative Commons

Budget woes at the New Mexico Department of Health are forcing a public health office in Albuquerque to close. 

The Alamosa Public Health clinic in southwest Albuquerque provides immunizations, STD screening, family planning and other services. Clients seeking help there are often low-income or uninsured.

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.

Ed Williams

Hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans don’t have enough food to eat. A lot of those people also have expensive medical conditions that can make buying food even harder.

A new program is trying to bridge that gap, by getting healthy food to people suffering from chronic health problems.

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.

Diliff via Wikipedia / creative commons license

New Mexico’s Democratic congressional delegation is calling for a federal investigation into the shakeup of the state’s behavioral health system.

taberandrew via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Lawmakers voted Wednesday to study a plan that would make small dollar loans available to state employees. At 26 percent interest, the loans would offer options for low income borrowers who have traditionally turned to high interest storefront loans.

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.

Andy Rudorfer via Flickr

A bill to toughen curfew rules for kids in New Mexico failed in the legislature Tuesday night. 

House Bill 29 would have let local governments set their own curfews for minors. It made it through the House of Representatives, but got derailed by the Senate Judiciary Committee this week when it failed on a 6-4 vote.

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."

@BeWellNM on Twitter

The New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange reported this week that a record 54,586 people signed up for insurance using the exchange during the Affordable Care Act’s most recent open enrollment period.

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. 

Ed Williams

Editor's Note: A spokeswoman for the New Mexico Environment Department emailed with concerns about this story. We reviewed them and found no inaccuracies. We stand by our reporting. You can find a link to her email and read our response here.

Decades ago, a chemical business called Laun-Dry Supply Company leaked poisonous dry cleaning solvents into Albuquerque’s groundwater.

In the years since, nobody has investigated possible health impacts to people living near the contamination.

But that changed this week. On Wednesday, the New Mexico Environment Department started the process of testing houses for chemicals from the Laun-Dry spill.

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.

Emory Maiden via Flickr

Lawmakers considered proposals Monday that would use a small share of the state’s Land Grant Permanent Fund to pay for early childhood education, and the measures ran into familiar roadblocks.

For the past five years, some democratic lawmakers have tried to tap into the state’s $14 billion Land Grant Permanent Fund to pay for early childhood education programs.

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. 

Ed Williams

Wednesday was Public Health Day in Santa Fe. Two dozen organizations that work on issues of health, poverty and research were at the state capital to press for funding during the legislative budget session. 

Flickr via CC

The James Boyd killing two years ago spurred voters to increase taxes and spend additional millions every year on behavioral health in Bernalillo County. Now, there's a new roadmap for those funds.

Pages