Public Health New Mexico

Generation Justice
9:51 am
Sat April 5, 2014

Police Militarization And Mental Health Cutbacks

Protests against police violence in Albuquerque
Credit Generation Justice

Sun. 4/6 7p: Generation Justice will host a community panel featuring journalist David Correia and Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino, discussing the historical analysis of militarization of police departments and the decline of mental health resources and how this correlates to where we are at today. We are also joined by local community organizers, Albuquerque Peace and Justice Center Coordinator Sue Schuurman, representative from A.N.S.W.E.R Gloria Rebar, and Kenneth Guy Ellis II, father of the late Kenneth Guy Ellis III, who will talk about the current situation and plans of action.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:59 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

APD Review Officer Discusses Police Oversight

An aerial view of Albuquerque's core
Credit kla4067 vis Wikimedia Commons and CC

Independent Review Officer Robin Hammer criticizes the city's Police Oversight Commission for failing to examine APD's overall policy on the use of force.

"The current commissioners have chosen not to use some of the powers they’ve already been given," she said in an interview with KUNM. "At no point in my 18 months has the Police Oversight Commission chosen to look at officer-involved shootings and to review what’s gone on."

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Public Health New Mexico
5:18 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

APD Chief Statement On Crisis Officer Contradicted

APD officers talk with James Boyd before firing on him
Credit Still from APD video footage March 16, 2014

Contrary to initial reports from the Albuquerque Police Department, no Crisis Intervention Team officers trained to de-escalate situations involving people with behavioral health issues were called to the scene of a Sandia foothills standoff that ended in the death of a camper last month at the hands of police.  

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Public Health New Mexico
3:16 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

Hundreds Head To Santa Fe Health Care Event Ahead Of Deadline

Young Invincibles and older adults and families wait to sign up for healthcare in Santa Fe
Deborah Martinez

Midnight Monday is the deadline to sign up for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act.  Over the weekend in New Mexico people lined up to get covered, either through the insurance marketplace or Medicaid.  

From those in their 60s to young people under 26 covered under their parents’ plan, hundreds stood in the bright spring sunshine sign up under Medicaid, or with one of four insurance plans.

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Public Health New Mexico
6:47 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

AZ Firm Cuts Pay For NM Behavioral Health Workers

Credit Agave Health logo

One of the five Arizona companies that took over operations from New Mexico behavioral health providers last year is announcing salary reductions.  The company says it had to cut pay because it was losing money.

Agave is a non-profit corporation formed in New Mexico by Southwest Behavioral Health of Arizona.  Rather than imposing layoffs, CEO and President Jeff Jorde said the firm needs to cut salaries for its 350 employees by five percent, beginning next week. 

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Sports
5:00 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Parents of People With Mental Health Issues Fear Calling 9-1-1

Credit peddhapati via Compfight CC

  In the wake of two shooting deaths by the Albuquerque Police Department  in two weeks, more families of people living with behavioral health issues are calling for reform of the department’s practices.  But despite recommendations years ago to train all staff on how to deal with people living with mental illness, just a fraction of the workforce has the special training.

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Public Health New Mexico
1:50 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

ACA Adviser: New Mexico Lags Behind

Phil Schiliro with President Obama
Credit whitehouse.gov

  The deadline to sign up for health care is Monday, March 31, and New Mexico lags behind just about every other state in the country in terms of enrollment.

Phil Schiliro is the adviser to President Obama on the Affordable Care Act. He moved his family to Santa Fe in 2012 and said enrollment is critical in New Mexico.

A study completed in 2012 showed more than 400,000 New Mexicans don’t have health insurance. Only about 15,000 have signed up on the exchange.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:02 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Big Picture: APD Shootings

Demonstrators in Downtown Albuquerque on Tuesday, March 25.
Credit Rita Daniels

Someone has posted a YouTube video claiming to represent the hacker group Anonymous and promising to launch an assault on the Albuquerque Police Department's websites. 

As a Downtown protest against APD’s use of deadly force concluded Tuesday night, officers opened fire on a man on the Westside. He died Wednesday morning. 

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Public Health New Mexico
10:04 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Homeless Group Calls for Homes, Not Handcuffs

Credit Victor Cassale via Flickr CC

  UPDATE: March 26, 2014—Hundreds marched Downtown last night to protest the Albuquerque Police Department's killing of a foothills camper on March 16. As the demonstration wound down, APD opened fire on a man on the Westside, who police say, fired shots at them first. The suspect died at the hospital.

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Public Health New Mexico
1:16 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

NCI to Study Effects of Trinity Test

The Trinity test 0.016 seconds after the explosion in Southern New Mexico on July 16, 1945.
Credit lanl.gov via Public Domain

  The National Cancer Institute will come to New Mexico this spring to investigate how much radiation people were exposed to after the Trinity test in the southern part of the state nearly 70 years ago.

The CDC studied health hazards in the New Mexico and said state residents consumed radiation via water, milk, meat and produce grown here after July 16, 1945, when the U.S. Army detonated a nuclear weapon for the first time.

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Public Health New Mexico
3:55 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

WIPP - Failure To Communicate?

Mining crews at the Department of Energy’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant mine the north end of the WIPP repository to support new salt studies.
Credit By ENERGY.GOV [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The director of an organization that evaluated the WIPP site for over 25 years said officials aren’t doing enough to inform New Mexicans.

Dr. Bob Neill led the Environmental Evaluation Group, which provided independent technical evaluations of the WIPP project for more than two decades. He retired a year after the plant opened in 1999, and the group disbanded in 2004.

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Public Health New Mexico
8:42 am
Sat March 22, 2014

State: Feds Wrong About Decline In Behavioral Health Services

Credit David Niblack, Imagebase.net

New Mexico’s Human Services Department says more consumers, not fewer, are receiving services since the takeover last summer of a dozen behavioral health providers accused of fraud. HSD’s response is contrary to the results of a progress report by a federal oversight agency.

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Local News
4:43 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

State Exchange Prepares For Insurance Enrollment Surge

Credit Screenshot from healthcare.gov

With less than two weeks left to sign up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act, employees with the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange are bracing for a surge of enrollment.

Spokeswoman Debra Hammer said there are almost 30 events scheduled over the next 10 days that are aimed at educating and assisting those who are still trying to enroll.

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Public Health New Mexico
2:00 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Update: Nuclear Waste From New Mexico Lab May Go To Texas

Credit Nicolas Raymond via CC

03/20/14 Update: Nuclear Waste From New Mexico Lab May Go To Texas - The Associated Press

The operator of the nation's troubled nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico wants to temporarily store waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory in rural West Texas until it reopens.

Waste storage at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad is halted because of a Feb. 5 truck fire and a Feb. 14 radiation leak that contaminated 17 workers.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:31 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Water Fluoridation: Poison Or Positive Public Health Initiative?

Credit Steve A. Johnson via flickr

KUNM Call-In Show Thu. 3/20 8a:  The US has been adding fluoride to water supplies for almost 70 years, and no conclusive evidence links its use to poor public health.  But in many communities, including Santa Fe and Albuquerque, the topic is highly controversial.   This week on the KUNM Call-In Show, we'll talk with advocates on both sides of the issue in advance of an April 9 town hall in Albuquerque.

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Public Health New Mexico
1:38 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

CDC: Excessive Drinking Kills New Mexicans

The rate of alcohol-attributable deaths for men is more than twice what it is for women.
Credit Douglas Muth via Creative Commons

 

Excessive drinking is among the leading causes of preventable deaths in the U.S., according to a report just released by the CDC.

Of the 11 states studied, New Mexico had the highest death rate due to alcohol use. For every 100,000 residents, there are about 51 deaths related to excessive drinking, which is almost double the median rate.

The report also tallied up all the years of potential life lost. In New Mexico, that’s a little more than 30 thousand years annually.

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Public Health New Mexico
12:57 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Senate Passes Military Sexual Assault Reforms

Sen. Claire McCaskill sponsored the Victims Protection Act of 2014.
Credit Flickr via CC

The U.S. Senate unanimously approved changes to the way sexual assault cases are handled by the military on Monday night—but stopped short of removing the chain of command from the process. Last week a measure that would have done just that failed by five votes.

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KUNM Call In Show
9:36 am
Wed March 12, 2014

New Mexico Children In Crisis

Credit Ajnagraphy via compfight

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 3/13 8a: New Mexico is perpetually at or near the bottom of state child well-being rankings. New Mexico's children are and have been at risk for abuse, poverty, hunger, and other issues that affect their ability to learn, grow, and be health.  

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Public Health New Mexico
3:59 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Governor Signs Community Health Workers Act

"National studies have documented the effective use of highly trained community health workers, particularly in rural and frontier areas." —Community Health Worker Act Fiscal Impact Report
Credit Ken Lund via Flickr

Community health workers can be paid through Medicaid after a measure signed by Gov. Susana Martinez on Sunday, March 9, goes into effect. As things stand, workers’ salaries are primarily funded by grants.

The legislation also creates a state certification program and funding for trainings.

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Public Health New Mexico
6:15 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Insurers Vie For Low-Income Patient Data

Residents of Taos sign up for the Affordable Care Act in December
Credit Deborah Martinez

As the March 31st deadline looms for signing up for individual insurance under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies tried to obtain personal information in order to contact potential customers who were previously covered by a state plan.  But state officials would not release the information.

New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange officials say they will market Obamacare to the low-income group themselves, rather than provide personal information to the four big insurance companies. 

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Public Health New Mexico
6:04 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Officials Say Air Testing At Nuclear Dump Shows No Contamination

Workers lower equipment into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant to find out more about an underground radiation leak.
Credit US Department of Energy

UPDATE 3/10 7a: The U.S. Department of Energy says new air testing in the nation's only underground nuclear repository shows no detectable radioactive contamination from a leak last month.

Officials at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad said Sunday that instruments used to measure air quality and radioactivity were sent underground Friday and Saturday in the first step to resuming operations at the plant.

They say initial results indicate no contamination in the air or on the measuring equipment.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:03 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Prediction Models Differ On Kirtland Fuel Spill Advancement

Credit Wikimedia Commons

  Regulators have been creating various models in order to try to predict when a plume of contamination from a decades old jet fuel leak at Kirtland Airforce Base will reach Albuquerque drinking water wells. 

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Public Health New Mexico
4:26 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Big Picture: WIPP Leak

Using Recovery Act funds in 2006, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant purchased $5.5 million of new equipment.
Credit energy.gov / public domain / via Wikimedia Commons

Just 26 miles east of Carlsbad, N.M., in the Chihuahuan Desert, the United States buries its radioactive waste. Mostly, that’s the clothes, tools and rags that come into contact with elements heavier than uranium on the Periodic Table. But about 4 percent of what’s dumped at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant is more toxic and has to be stored in lead casks.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:20 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Obama's Budget Would Fund Navajo Water Project

President Obama’s $3.9 trillion budget could provide $2.4 billion to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. That’s an increase of about $33 million from the previous year.

The budget increase would go to education, social services, and Indian child welfare. It would also fund water projects in New Mexico.  

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Public Health New Mexico
3:27 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Funding For Developmental Disability Services Still Stalled

The Tatzes play with golden retriever Jelly Bean
Deborah Martinez

Thousands of people with developmental disabilities in New Mexico have been waiting to receive the full spectrum of services available through a government program, some for more than 10 years.  The Tatz family is inching towards that benchmark, as they and their kids grow older.   

“I had back surgery," Lesly Tatz announced. Lesly's mom, Jill Tatz, explained, "She has had medical issues, and had open heart surgery at 18 months.” Her daughter has had numerous surgeries.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:27 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

New Mexico Surpasses U.S. In Childhood Flu Vaccinations

The number of children receiving flu vaccines in New Mexico is higher than the national average, according to the state Department of Health.

During the 2010-2011 flu season, almost 60 percent of kids between the ages of five and 12 got vaccinated for flu. However, that number jumped to about 70 percent the following year.

Public Health New Mexico
5:08 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Audit Of HSD Finds Problems With 2013 Behavioral Health Transition

Credit publik15 via Flickr

The chaotic transition a state agency forced last year from 15 New Mexico-based health organizations to five Arizona companies had many problems, an annual audit has found.

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Public Health New Mexico
6:08 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

13 Were Exposed To Radiation At Nuclear Waste Facility

Test results show that more than a dozen workers have been exposed to nuclear radiation after a leak was discovered at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico on Valentine's day.
Credit Public domain image.

  The Department of Energy says preliminary tests indicate 13 workers were exposed to radiation during a recent leak at the nation's underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico.

The DOE said in a news release Wednesday that it has notified the workers of the positive results and will do further testing. They declined to comment further on the extent of the possible exposure until a news conference Thursday afternoon.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:47 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Udall Proposes Health Bills

Credit Senator Tom Udall

New Mexico Senator Tom Udall has proposed two bills to address access to health care in rural communities. 

Every county in New Mexico, except one, has been designated by the federal government as having a health care provider shortage. And beyond a shortage, surveys show that over half of the doctors in New Mexico were at capacity and unable to take on more than a handful of new patients.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:44 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Preschool Obesity Rates Drop Nationally

Children play after a healthy meal at Serendipity Day School in Albuquerque
Credit Rita Daniels

Young children are beginning to show signs of lower obesity rates – 43 percent over ten years, according to a new Centers for Disease Control Study.  

The study doesn’t break down the decline state by state, but the news doesn’t surprise Judy Baron.  She’s a co-director of the Serendipity Day School for 2 to 4 year-olds in Albuquerque.

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