Public Health New Mexico

Public Health New Mexico
4:40 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Judge To Hear Behavioral Health Audit Lawsuits This Week

Public Consulting Group's audit was heavily redacted before release
Credit audit screen shot

The audit that led the Martinez administration to freeze Medicaid funding for more than a dozen behavioral health non-profits in New Mexico is at the center of a hearing Tuesday in Santa Fe.  

The Foundation for Open Government sued state government after state officials released a heavily redacted audit to media.  FOG attorneys claim the report is “too important to the citizens of New Mexico to be kept form public view.”  The open government group asked in its lawsuit for for the audit to be released in its entirety.

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Local News
8:07 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Critics Of Proposed Abortion Ban Say Health-Of-Mother Clause Could Be Slippery Slope

Voters in Albuquerque will soon decide the fate of a controversial ballot measure that would limit abortion rights. If approved, the measure would prohibit Albuquerque doctors from terminating a pregnancy, in any way, past the 20 week gestational mark. It does include an exception to the rule though- for when a woman's life is in immediate danger. But some argue the exception doesn't go far enough, and that it could end up dangerously tying the hands of doctors treating women with complicated pregnancies. 

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Public Health New Mexico
7:14 am
Fri November 15, 2013

AG’s Argument For Secrecy Is ‘Terrifying,’ News Orgs Say

Credit Rrrodrigo via Flickr

Because it isn’t a law enforcement agency, the N.M. Human Services Department can’t justify keeping an audit of 15 health providers secret using the law enforcement exception to a state sunshine law, two news organizations suing for release of the audit say.

 

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Public Health New Mexico
11:20 am
Wed November 13, 2013

Whooping Cough Cases Prompt Officials To Push Vaccinations

Credit Centers for Disease Control

State health officials are urging parents to get their teenagers immunized in the wake of a whooping cough outbreak at a northeast Albuquerque high school.

Even if teens had the pertussis vaccination early on, they need to get boosters to prevent infection and transmission of the highly contagious illness.

Dr. Chad Smelser is an epidemiologist with the New Mexico Department of Health. He said teens need the booster because, over time, immunity fades.

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Public Health New Mexico
2:37 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Mobile Food Truck Drives Down Diabetes, Obesity On NM's Pueblos

Locals shop at MoGro truck
SF Community Foundation

People who don’t have a grocery store nearby are often left to settle for fast food choices that are less healthy.  But a mobile food truck stocked with everything from chia seeds to collard greens is ensuring that rural residents have a leg up on better nutrition.  

In response to New Mexico’s high poverty and food insecurity rates, and growing numbers of diabetes and obesity problems, Sysco Foods’ CEO began MoGro –a mobile grocery store that has been visiting five New Mexico pueblos since January of this year.

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Public Health New Mexico
8:39 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

In The Southwest, Nearly 60 Percent Of Health Exchange Users Would See Tax Credits

It's estimated that 7.4 million people in the southwest will be buying insurance on their own under the Affordable Care Act. Approximately 60 percent of those purchasers will be eligible for help with their insurance bill in the form of tax credits next year.

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KUNM Call In Show
3:41 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Report Card: Healthcare Exchange Enrollment

Implementation of the ACA is progressing slowly. But, how critical should Americans be after just five weeks? Call us with your questions or comments.
Credit Omono via Flickr

KUNM Call In Show Thur. 11/7 8a : The insurance exchange has gone live, but critics say it's on life-support. Is it fair to judge the program after only five weeks?

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Public Health New Mexico
3:31 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Despite Promises, Arizona Behavioral Health Cos. Cut Patient Services

Valle del Sol logo as listed on its website.
Credit Valle del Sol

This summer five Arizona companies took over a dozen New Mexico mental health agencies accused of Medicaid fraud. Clients were assured that there would be no disruptions in their care.  But those assurances are withering at five key sites.

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Public Health New Mexico
12:57 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

In New Mexico, Heroin Use Continues To Fuel Crime, Overdoses

"[Drugs are] like domestic violence. It’s not going to go away," says New Mexico District Attorney Kari Brandenburg. "All we can do is the best that we can do one day at a time."
Credit Drug Enforcement Administration

Heroin is the reigning king of drugs in New Mexico. From overdoses to prosecutions, heroin is wreaking havoc, and to make matters worse, it’s cheaper, purer, and easier to buy than ever.

New Mexico District Attorney Kari Brandenburg said prosecutions of heroin trafficking and possession in the state have surpassed other drugs like cocaine and meth.

Conversely, the use of prescription opiates are down.

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Public Health New Mexico
10:41 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Woman In Santa Fe Dies From Hantavirus

The New Mexico Department of Heath has announced that a woman in Santa Fe has died from Hantavirus. It’s the second reported case in the state this year

Preliminary investigations indicate that the Hantavirus was acquired locally, likely within the woman’s home. But the Department of Health says it will also be performing an investigation at the patient’s house to make sure there's no risk to others. The woman’s identity has not yet been released.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:03 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

LANL Scientists Announce Breakthrough In Development Of HIV Vaccine

Credit Centers For Disease Control

A team of scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory are reporting a breakthrough in the effort to develop an HIV vaccine. The research used what’s called a mosaic vaccine, which showed some test animals had protection when exposed to the infection.

The study, which was conducted on 36 monkeys, has provided new insight into vaccines that could eventually protect humans from infection. 

LANL scientist Bette Korber said that a mosaic vaccine, unlike traditional vaccines, is designed to respond to the large variety of HIV viruses that exist.  

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Public Health New Mexico
1:51 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

63,000 New Mexicans To Transition Health Plans Under ACA

Under the Affordable Care Act, around 63,000 New Mexicans will need to buy new health insurance policies by the end of the year. Those plans could cost more and cover more.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:30 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

In Albuquerque, Human Trafficking Evolves And Grows

A recent study claims that nearly 30-­million people on the planet live in slavery-­ a practice that relies on the trafficking of human beings. The majority of victims are found in places like India, Thailand and Russia. Human trafficking is also a growing problem in the Southwestern United States, and the black market trade is growing in New Mexico.

It was a bad night, and none of the girls had made much cash. The evening's customers were more interested in the Spurs game on television then the strippers. But one of the dancers knew how they could make up for it.

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Public Health New Mexico
2:35 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

New Mexico Leads Nation In Per Capita Mental Illness

A new federal report ranks New Mexico as the state with the highest percentage of citizens with mental illness. But the 416-page survey also reveals states in the Southwest are above average in many areas like access to mental health services.

The purpose of the Behavioral Health 2012 report is to look at where states stand in relation to national averages. The hope is for policy makers to examine areas of the mental health system that need help.

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Public Health New Mexico
1:22 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

NM's Human Trafficking Laws Speed Up Prosecutions, Help For Victims

Credit Life Link of Santa Fe

Five years ago victims of human trafficking had no legal remedies under New Mexico’s laws.  But in 2008 a new statute provided prosecutors with tools to help victims and bring the traffickers to justice.  And the state was years ahead of 39 other states that only began to pass laws this year, according to the Polaris Project.   

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Public Health New Mexico
11:54 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Audit: NM Sexual Assault Programs Not In Compliance

An audit conducted by the Department of Justice says the New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs failed to comply with essential grant conditions when handling about $4-million dollars in federal awards over the last six years. 

According to the audit by the Office of Inspector General Audit Division (OIG), there were conflicts of interest when hiring; questionable payroll costs; and inadequate monitoring of contracts, sub-grantees and timesheets, to name a few of the findings.

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Public Health New Mexico
10:47 am
Wed October 30, 2013

No Matter How Much You Spend On Football Equipment, Concussion Risk Still The Same: Study

No matter what kind of football helmet you buy for your teenager, the risk of concussion is still the same. That's according to a new study that looked to examine the relationship between concussion risk and equipment used to prevent injury.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:05 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Secrecy Surrounds Fraud Allegations In New Mexico Mental Health Audit

Many pages of the behavioral health audit were partially or fully redacted.

In June, New Mexico’s Behavioral Health care system was thrown into chaos — the state abruptly froze Medicaid payments to more than a dozen mental health providers in the state after an audit allegedly found widespread

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Public Health New Mexico
9:10 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Despite Progress, NM Teen Pregnancy Rate Still Tops Charts

Karla Aguirre prepares to bathe her son Harley at a parenting class
Deborah Martinez

New Mexico’s teen pregnancy rate is declining – down 41 percent between 1998 and 2011 – but the state still has the second highest rate in the nation behind Mississippi.  High poverty and high drop out rates play a big part.  But a Santa Fe high school program that’s helping teens earn their diplomas while overcoming the challenges of parenthood is making a dent in the stark statistics.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:44 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Partial Release Of New Mexico Mental Health Audit Raises Questions

Many pages of the behavioral health audit were partially or fully redacted.

This summer, the State of New Mexico froze Medicaid payments to mental health providers because of fraud allegations.

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Public Health New Mexico
3:35 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Researcher Aims To End Cycle Of Hurtful Behavior In Kids

Credit HeyPaulStudios via Flickr

New research is taking a look at how childhood trauma can alter the development of the brain, sometimes with lasting effects  that can carry into adulthood.   Dr. Elaine Bearer’s work looks at ways to stop the cycle of kids “acting out” before they grow up.

University of New Mexico Professor  Elaine Bearer’s research on mice suggests early childhood trauma might interfere with normal changes in the brains of children.   She and her team are also studying the stress a premature baby endures.

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Public Health New Mexico
10:42 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Exemption To ACA Could Leave Many Native Americans Uninsured

IHS Albuquerque Area Headquarters
Credit Indian Health Service

In June, Deleana Other Bull was laid off. She lost her insurance, and turned to the Indian Health Service for her needs.

I recently had a miscarriage, and it was very devastating for me,” said Other Bull. “Going and following up and making sure that everything is okay. It was really scary because I didn’t have insurance.”

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Public Health New Mexico
3:07 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Native Americans At Higher Risk For Flu Complications

An Educational Poster On Seasonal Flu Specifically Targeting Native Americans
Credit Centers for Disease Control

Health Departments in the Southwest are beginning to see some of the first flu cases of the season. Officials warn there are many populations at higher risk for health complications for the flu.

One high-risk group is Native Americans. However, the reason why isn’t fully understood.

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Public Health New Mexico
6:01 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Managed Care Organizations Look To Cash In On Native American Patients

State Human Service Department officials present information about the Centennial Care program to members of the Navajo Nation's Shiprock Chapter.
Credit Tristan Ahtone

Hate it or love it, the Affordable Health Care Act is set to roll out soon. And as most already know, the act requires nearly all citizens to obtain health insurance or face penalties. But some of those exempted from the mandate are Native Americans. That hasn’t deterred private insurance companies from launching a campaign in Indian Country to sign up tribal members in New Mexico.

On a cool, Saturday afternoon on the Navajo Nation a crowd of tribal members are lined up at a row of folding tables staffed by insurance company representatives that speak English.

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KUNM Call In Show
12:56 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Obamacare Goes Live: State Health Insurance Exchange Enrollment Kicks Off Oct. 1

Credit clevercupcakes via Flickr

KUNM Call In Show 9/26 8a: We've been hearing about the roll out of the Affordable Care Act for years now, but what does the full implementation of the healthcare law actually mean for New Mexicans? Who is eligible for tax credits for insurance premiums? What about people who are happy with their employer provided health insurance?

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Public Health New Mexico
4:30 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

New Mexico Poverty Rate Rises

Nationally, the poverty rate also increased between 2000 and 2012.
Credit U.S. Census Bureau

New Census data shows that poverty rates in New Mexico have increased significantly since 2000. About one fifth of the state’s population earned an income below the federal poverty line last year and more than 100,000 New Mexicans fell into poverty over the last dozen years. 

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Public Health New Mexico
4:33 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Heavy Rains Bring Worries Of West Nile Virus

This map shows the incidence of human West Nile virus by state for 2013.
Credit Centers for Disease Control

With heavy rainfall still drenching parts of the Southwest, health officials are warning that mosquito populations could increase, and more mosquitoes could mean more West Nile Virus.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:59 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Southwest Plague Cases Help High US Ranking For Bubonic Infections

Between 1900 and 2010, 999 confirmed or probable human plague cases occurred in the United States. More than 80 percent of United States plague cases have been the bubonic form.
Credit Centers for Disease Control

A new survey ranks the United States 11th in the number of reported plague cases around the world. Of the cases found in the U.S. over the last decade, most infections were acquired in the Southwest.

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Public Health New Mexico
7:24 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Open Government Group Sues To Force Audit Release

Credit Rrrodrigo via Flickr

The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government has filed a lawsuit seeking public disclosure of an audit that identified potential overbillings and fraud by providers of mental health and substance abuse services.

The Human Services Department has frozen payments to more than a dozen behavioral health providers because of the fraud allegations.

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Public Health New Mexico
1:34 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Timeline: New Mexico's Shake Up Of Behavioral Health Providers

N.M. Human Services Department Secretary Sidonie Squier reviews behavioral health audit findings with Attorney General Gary King at the Legislative Finance Committee's July 17 meeting in Albuquerque.
Credit Bryant Furlow / New Mexico In Depth

At the end of June, 15 New Mexico behavioral health agencies had their Medicaid funding frozen by the state's Human Services Department due to “credible allegations of fraud.”

The agencies provide services to approximately 30,000 patients, many who seek help for mental health issues ranging from substance abuse treatment to schizophrenia.

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