Public Health New Mexico

Local News
5:42 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Local Provider Says Arizona Co. Not Certified For Specific Behavioral Health Services

Easter Seals El Mirador,  one of 15 providers recently audited and accused of fraud by the state's Human Services Department, provides behavioral health services to hundreds of children in New Mexico.

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Local News
8:24 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

State Auditor To Have Access To Behavioral Health Provider Audit

Credit publik15 via Flickr

UPDATE 7/25 8p: The attorney general's office says an agreement has been reached for State Auditor Hector Balderas to have access to an audit that identified potential overbillings and fraud by behavioral health providers.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Al Lama said Thursday a state district judge in Santa Fe has been asked to issue an order making clear the audit report will be protected from public disclosure once it's provided to Balderas.

The auditor and Human Services Department support the request.

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Local News
5:14 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Navajo Nation To Take Over Gallup Detox Center

A client of Na'Nizhoozhi Center, Inc., better known as NCI, walks to the entrance where he will spend the night.
Credit Donovan Quintero

The largest detoxification center in New Mexico is scheduled to close and reopen under a new name and management: The Navajo Nation.

The Na'Nizhoozhi Center, Inc., served nearly 24,000 people in 2012 and averaged between 75 and 100 intakes per day.

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Poverty and Public Health
10:40 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Local Farmers Markets Help Reduce Obesity Rates

Vendors display fresh produce at the market
Deborah Martinez

Farmers markets are in full swing around New Mexico.  That’s good news for families with school-aged children. Childhood obesity rates are declining a bit across the state and around the nation.  What might be playing a role in the decrease?  We visited a northern New Mexico market to find out.

Business is bustling at the Española Farmers Market.

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Poverty and Public Health
8:35 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Sequestration Shuts Down NM Head Start Centers

Head Start programs serve kids up to age 5. Early childhood advocates say it prepares them for elementary school and beyond.
Credit Neighborhood Centers via Flickr

Children of low-income families who get free early education services in northern New Mexico will have to seek help elsewhere because two Head Start centers are closing as part of the the federal deficit cutting plan known as sequestration.  Presbyterian Medical Services, the nonprofit that gives a “head start” to hundreds of children before kindergarten, is feeling the pinch and cutting services.   

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Poverty and Public Health
4:06 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Federal Judge Takes Behavioral Health Case Under Advisement

Federal Judge M. Christina Armijo took up the case of behavioral health providers pleading for reinstatement of sanctioned Medicaid funding.
Credit Deborah Martinez

Fourteen Behavioral health providers in New Mexico hoping to have their Medicaid funding reinstated will have to wait at least another day, as the federal court judge asked to decide the issue has taken it under advisement.  

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Local News
2:15 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Residents In Northern NM Brace For Extreme Flooding

Credit Jared via Flickr

Recent rains have reduced the spread of New Mexico’s wildfires, but now residents living downstream of scar areas are bracing for flooding during the monsoon season.  

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Developing
8:29 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Mental Health Providers Plead For Restored Funding

Credit publik15 via Flickr

  

A hearing on the lawsuit  brought by eight behavioral health service providers against Governor Susana Martinez's administration is set for 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, July 17  in Federal District Court in Albuquerque.  The group is suing to have funding restored by the state and Human Services Cabinet Secretary Sidonie Squier.  Squier abruptly halted all funding for the providers several weeks ago in the wake of an audit the department says was necessary after reports of alleged fraud and misuse of Medicaid funding.

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Poverty and Public Health
2:56 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Health Department Surveys Santa Fe Hospital Staffing

It's business as usual as patients come and go at Santa Fe's Christus St. Vincent Hospital, but inside visitors from the New Mexico Department of Health are undertaking a site survey in response to a complaint by the union representing hundreds of hospital nurses.

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Poverty and Public Health
3:39 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Veterans, Lawmakers Push For Medical Marijuana For PTSD

Credit eggrole via Flickr

In New Mexico, thousands of veterans are living with post traumatic stress disorder.   Some of them are joining forces with elected officials to push for increased access to medical marijuana as a treatment for PTSD.

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Poverty and Public Health
3:05 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Number Of Overdose Deaths Among Women Continue To Climb

The figure above shows age-adjusted death rates for drug overdose deaths among women in the United States during 2009-2010.
Credit Centers for Disease Control

New data from the Centers For Disease Control conclude that nationally, overdose deaths among women have been on the rise since 1999; and that since 2007, more women have died from overdoses than motor vehicle-related injuries.

However, officials in New Mexico say those trends are nothing new in the state.

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Poverty and Public Health
5:45 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Navajo Nation Declares Drought Emergency

Plants and dunes on the Navajo Nation.
Credit Margaret Hiza-Redsteer, USGS Flagstaff, AZ / USGS

Navajo President Ben Shelley has declared a state of emergency for drought conditions on the Navajo Nation. Officials are concerned ongoing drought may be creating unsafe conditions for people who need drinkable water.

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Poverty and Public Health
9:31 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Bernalillo County Minimum Wage Increases

Minimum wage workers in unincorporated areas of Bernalillo County got a raise on July 1st. 

The new county wage law that was passed in April raises the minimum wage from $7.50 and hour to $8.00 an hour for businesses outside Albuquerque city limits.  Commissioner Art De La Cruz, a democrat who represents parts of the west side and the south valley was the bill’s sponsor. He says its not a living wage, but that it will help the low paid workers and their communities.

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News Update
6:00 am
Tue July 2, 2013

New Mexico Workers' Compensation Laws May Exploit Dairy Workers

Credit New Mexico Center On Law And Poverty

The injury occurred on the job. A bull mounted a cow, and the worker was pinned against the stall. That led to a bloody and severe shoulder injury, surgery, and an inability to work.

“I went almost one month without work, and then after that, they called me back, but I was in no condition to work,” says this worker. He’s asked us not to use his name because it could jeopardize his ability to find future work in the small, New Mexico town of Portales.  “I would bleed at work, and that’s how they had me working at the dairy.”

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News Update
3:53 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

New Mexico Farmworkers May Be Victims Of Illegal Pay Practices

Credit New Mexico Center On Law And Poverty

You wake up at three in the morning. In El Paso. You board a bus, and spend the rest of your day herding livestock, picking chilies, or milking cows. Then, at the end of the day, you’re handed cash for your work, but it may not be enough.

“So if we work eight, nine, ten hours, they put down that we work less,” says an Agricultural worker who goes through this process on a regular basis. He’s asked not to use his real name for fear of retaliation. “For example, they don’t pay us for more than eight hours, so if you only get $40, they say that’s what you worked, eight hours.”

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Poverty and Public Health
5:00 am
Mon July 1, 2013

New Mexico Agricultural Survey Reveals Labor Abuses

New Mexico's agricultural workers face low pay, dangerous conditions, and have few laws to protect them from abuse. Those allegations are contained in a new report from the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty.

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Local News
9:13 am
Sat June 29, 2013

Governor Urges Caution As July 4th Nears

Governor Susana Martinez urges residents to attend public fireworks displays and heed fireworks bans.
Credit Deborah Martinez

Santa Fe skies are obscured by clouds and haze from area wildfires, but fire officials are reassuring residents that the smoky air does not pose immediate health risks for most people.

Several of the wildfires burning in New Mexico have been contained, but the Jaroso Fire northeast of Santa Fe is still raging uncontrolled.  Wind is pushing smoke into populated areas of the state, and that has residents concerned.

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Poverty and Public Health
11:01 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Report Shows Housing Becoming Costlier In New Mexico

The number of households that are paying more than 30 percent of their income in rent has gone up steadily since 2007.
Credit The State of the Nation's Housing 2013 Report

The economy is improving, according to a new housing report, but the number of households spending more than 30-percent of their income on housing higher than ever.

The State of the Nation's Housing report for 2013, published by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, says households that spend more than 30-percent of their income on housing are considered to be “cost-burdened.”

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KUNM Call In Show
11:11 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Why Are New Mexico Seniors Not Getting Enough To Eat?

Credit reedwade via Flickr

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 6/27/13 8a: One out of five New Mexico seniors doesn't get enough to eat. Why is there such food insecurity among the elderly here and what can be done? Are there seniors in your neighborhood who need assistance with meals? We'd like to hear from you! Email callinshow@kunm.org, post your comments online, or call in live during the show. 

277-5866 (locally)

877-899-5866 (toll free)

Host: Deborah Martinez, Poverty and Public Health Reporter

Guests: 

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Poverty and Public Health
3:45 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

21 Percent Of New Mexico's Seniors Have Food Insecurity

One out of every five senior citizens in New Mexico isn't getting enough to eat, according to a report from United Health Foundation. New Mexico ranks 49th in the nation for food insecurity.

The America's Health Ranking Senior Report looks at general health and food insecurity, among other issues facing the aging population.

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Poverty and Public Health
5:39 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Friction Between State Agencies Escalates As Health Exchange Deadlines Near

Credit zpeckler via Flickr

New details have emerged about changes that were made to a grant proposal the state submitted to the federal government related to the state's Health Insurance Exchange.

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Poverty and Public Health
10:53 am
Thu June 13, 2013

NM Vets Battle For Healthcare Off The Field

Credit DVIDSHUB via Flickr

Veterans with combat disorders joined their families this week to express their frustration at how long it takes to get veterans services. Congressional representatives Steve Pearce and Michelle Lujan Grisham hosted the public forum in Albuquerque Monday.  

Fans ran at high speed in the American Legion Post 13 auditorium as outside temperatures inched up to 100 degrees.  Tensions were also heated among the families of veterans who've had trouble receiving healthcare services once they're off the battle field.  

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Poverty and Public Health
5:01 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Study: Half Of Native American High School Students Graduate In US, New Mexico

Navajo Technical College commencement, 2012.
Credit US Department of Education

  Only half of the Native American students in the U.S. graduated from high school in 2010, according to a new report by the non-profit publisher of Education Week. The study found Native American students graduated at a rate 30 percent lower than white students, 17 percent lower than Latino students, and 10 percent lower than African American students.

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Poverty and Public Health
4:40 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

New Mexico Ranks Highest For Childhood Hunger

The Southwest has some of the highest rates of childhood hunger in the country. That's according to a new study that says New Mexico is the most food insecure state in the nation.

The report, authored by Feeding America, ranked New Mexico first for child hunger, followed by Arizona in third place, Nevada in eighth, Texas in ninth place, and California in 10th. Sonya Warwick is with New Mexico's Roadrunner Food Bank.

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Poverty and Public Health
1:18 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Tainted Frozen Berries Spread Hepatitis-A Across West

More cases of Hepatitis ‘A’ found in tainted frozen berries from Costco Wholesale have been identified in New Mexico and the southwest, with 100 people who were exposed receiving a vaccination. At least 61 people are sick and have been hospitalized in seven states, including New Mexico, according to the New Mexico Department of Health.   David Selvage is an epidemiologist with DOH.  He says people who have eaten the Townsend Farms Organic Anti-oxidant Blend frozen berries in the last 14 days should see their doctor or go to a clinic to get the Hepatitis-A vaccine.

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Poverty and Public Health
5:50 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

EPA To Inspect Acoma Pueblo For Radioactive Materials

The Environmental Protection Agency says they'll be inspecting properties on Acoma Pueblo in western New Mexico for radioactive materials. The assessment is one of numerous being conducted in the southwest, and in Indian Country.

Since 2009, the EPA says they've been doing structural assessments of properties near former uranium mills and mines, including the Navajo Nation, Laguna Pueblo and now Acoma Pueblo.

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Poverty and Public Health
9:28 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Free Summer Meals Program For Children Underway

 

Children who depend on free meals at school in New Mexico have a place to go this summer now that the state's summer meals program is up and running. 

 

The pre-packaged meals usually include a sandwich, carrots or another veggie, milk or juice and fruit, and for kids who might not otherwise get lunch at home during the summer months.  New Mexico's Children, Youth and Families Department doles out the money to schools and local government agencies that hand out the meals at  central locations in dozens of cities.  Henry Varela is CYFD's spokesman.

 

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Poverty and Public Health
3:39 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Federal Grant Will Mean HIV/AIDS Housing Help

People and families living with HIV/AIDS in northern New Mexico, will get help with housing, as a result of a federal grant award, for a one-of-a-kind assistance program.  

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Poverty and Public Health
7:57 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Navajo Nation In Violation Of HUD Grants

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD for short, says the Navajo Nation has failed to spend nearly $150-million in housing grant money for fiscal year 2012. Since 2000, the Navajo Nation have almost consistently failed to spend HUD grant money.

In a letter of warning to the Navajo Housing Authority, HUD gave notice that the tribe was in violation of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act.

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Poverty and Public Health
7:53 am
Fri May 31, 2013

NM Lawmakers Look For Ways To Replace Funding For SNAP

The effects of the sequester are beginning to hit home for many of New Mexico’s federally funded social programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, that provides a small amount of grocery money for hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans each month.  Several speakers at the New Mexico State Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee meeting Thursday pointed out that New Mexico leads the nation in income inequality, making it one of the poorest states in the nation.  

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