Public Health New Mexico

Public Health New Mexico
4:52 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Feds Release New Data On Health Insurance Marketplace Sign-ups

Credit healthcare.gov

The federal government has released new data on the number of people signing up for health care plans on the health insurance marketplace, and there has been a significant uptick in marketplace activity as of December.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:05 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

New Mexico's Top 10 Public Health Stories In 2013

Photo Credit: SchuminWeb via Compfight cc

KUNM Public Health New Mexico reporter Marisa Demarco breaks it down with the highlights of public health news for 2013.

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Public Health New Mexico
3:15 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Chicken Soup For The Influenza-Riddled Soul

Credit Univ. of Melbourne - public domain

In California, at least eight people have died from the flu. In North Texas, 19 deaths.

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Public Health New Mexico
1:24 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

A Krokodil Ripped My Flesh

According to WOAI, the Drug Enforcement Agency has “experienced the first case of a Texan being treated for using a new type of drug which leaves the user with flesh lesions and turns the skin a scaly green color.”

The drug, known as Krokodil, has made headlines in the United States for months, but has only shown up in a few isolated incidents, like the one in Texas.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:57 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Native American Cancer Rates Remain Static

A map of age-adjusted death rates for Native Americans in New Mexico, 2006-2010.
Credit National Cancer Institute

New statistics released by the American Cancer Society show that nationally there's been a 20 percent decrease in risk of death from all cancers. For breast and colon cancer, that rate of decline is closer to 35 percent. However, in the Southwest, there's a slightly different picture.

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Public Health New Mexico
1:12 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Behavioral Health Chief Steps Down

Diana McWilliams

The director of the state's Behavioral Health Services Division is resigning. Diana McWilliams submitted her resignation letter on Monday, Dec. 16, and her last day is tomorrow. She'll be heading back east to Philadelphia to become the chief operating officer for a nonprofit behavioral health and child welfare organization, she said. 

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Public Health New Mexico
11:54 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Free App Enrolls New Mexicans in Obamacare

Credit Cheon Fong Liew via Compfight cc

Medical residents at UNM created a free app to help New Mexicans get hooked into health care.

The app, called Get Covered New Mexico, can aid folks in calculating what they're eligible for. It links directly to websites people can use to apply for Medicaid and the health care exchange. It also points the way to the nearest physical location to apply for services in-person.

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Public Health New Mexico
10:03 am
Fri December 13, 2013

High Demand, Strong Supply Drive New Mexico's Heroin Problems

95 pounds of black tar heroin seized in California
Credit State of California Department of Justice

Stan Padilla has been using heroin for 45 years. On this cold December morning, he’s taking time to visit an Albuquerque syringe exchange to pick up clean gear for his habit.

"I just look out for myself,” said Padilla. “'Round here there isn’t no friends, when it comes out to drugs and money, it’s all about trying to use each other. It’s the way it is. It’s the drug business for you.”

He’s 61 years old, an Albuquerque native, and says he’s cut his habit down to using about once a month.

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Public Health New Mexico
8:25 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

New Mexico Infant Mortality Rates Surpass National Numbers

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Infant mortality rates in the Southwest have been steadily declining over the years. But recent data from New Mexico show a surprising spike in 2012. The state has surpassed national infant death rates for the first time since the 1990s.

According to the Associated Press:

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Public Health New Mexico
11:24 am
Mon December 2, 2013

The Case Of New Mexico's Altered Audit

A page from the redacted audit documents released earlier this year.

It's been almost six months since the New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD) froze Medicaid payments to mental health providers in the state due to a "credible allegation of fraud."

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Public Health New Mexico
4:38 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Should NM Legislature Tax, Regulate E-Cigarettes?

Various e-cigarettes
Credit Wikipedia

E-cigarettes – those pen-like nicotine dispensers people inhale without the smoke – are posing challenges for governments trying to reduce the number of people who take up smoking.  Today a Legislative panel that oversees spending of a tobacco-settlement fund discussed whether to regulate e-cigarettes in the same way as the traditional kind.

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Public Health New Mexico
3:00 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Vaccinations Survey Reveals Personal Reasons For Exemptions

Credit Univ. of Melbourne - public domain

Most parents asking for an exemption to mandatory vaccinations in New Mexico schools were anglo, according to a survey done by the state Department of Health. 

The survey reveals details behind the exemptions. 

Most New Mexico parents cited religious beliefs in order to get an exemption for a child, believing it’s better to develop immunity to diseases naturally by contracting the illness. 

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Public Health New Mexico
2:29 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Smoking Rates During Pregnancy Highest Among Native Americans

Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many diseases and affecting the health of smokers in general, as well as those inhaling “second hand” smoke.
Credit Debora Cartagena, CDC

Native Americans have the highest rates of smoking before, during and after pregnancy than any other ethnic group in the nation. That’s according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control.

According to the CDC, 55 percent of Native American women smoked before pregnancy. During pregnancy, that rate dropped significantly to 26 percent. However, that rate was still the highest of any racial or ethnic group in the nation.

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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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