Public Health New Mexico

KUNM Call In Show
11:33 am
Fri January 31, 2014

2014 Legislature: So Little Time, So Many Public Health Bills

Credit puroticorico via Flickr

KUNM Call In Show Thu.

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Public Health New Mexico
9:45 am
Fri January 31, 2014

A Cancer Patient's Take on Aid in Dying

Allie_Caulfield via Compfight cc—Aja Riggs stopped by the Muir Woods National Monument to see the giant redwoods. "To walk among them is like being in some kind of temple or sanctuary," she says.

Aja Riggs is on the road, visiting family and friends, and taking in some of the most beautiful natural places in the United States. She particularly loves what she calls "freaky natural things," like boiling mud coming out of the ground in Yellowstone and the organ pipe cacti near the Mexico border in Arizona.

"I'm kind of part-jokingly calling my travels my 'No Regrets Remission Tour,' " she laughs. 

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Public Health New Mexico
1:58 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Breakdown Of 2014 Public Health Legislation

Credit Wiki Creative Commons

UPDATE Feb.

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Public Health New Mexico
1:44 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Bill Would Fund Farm-Fresh School Lunches

Pink Sherbet Photography via Compfight cc

UPDATE Feb. 19, 2014, at 1:00 p.m.: HB 81 is stuck in committee.

Two years ago, the USDA made the first changes in a generation to public school meals. Students would see more produce at lunchtime.

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Public Health New Mexico
11:41 am
Fri January 24, 2014

In New Mexico: Guilt, Fraud, Audits And Behavioral Health

On Jan. 16, the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office announced it had found “insufficient evidence to support allegations of fraud” against The Counseling Center in Alamagordo, N.M.

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Public Health New Mexico
11:39 am
Fri January 24, 2014

AG Releases New Portion Of Health Audit

A screenshot of a page from the portion of the Public Consulting Group audit that details findings for The Counseling Center in Alamogordo.

A state-hired auditor found $1,873 in questionable Medicaid payments to a health-care provider cleared of fraud last week by the state's top cop, according to a portion of the audit released Wednesday.

Using a statistical formula, the auditor then extrapolated from that $1,873 figure to come up with approximately $612,000 in potential Medicaid overpayments by The Counseling Center in Alamogordo, the document shows.

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Public Health New Mexico
8:39 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Southwest States Receive Low Grades For Tobacco Control Efforts

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

According to the American Lung Association, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada and Texas all received Fs for their tobacco prevention efforts. That’s primarily because the states aren’t spending amounts recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.

Texas got the worst grades in the Southwest, including an F for smoke-free air and restrictions.

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KUNM Call In Show
4:47 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Why Aren't More New Mexicans Enrolled In Medicaid?

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 1/23 8a: Medicaid Expansion is underway in New Mexico.  We'll talk with several people directly involved in enrolling and outreach, working to get more people covered.  Are you wanting to enroll but haven't, or are you concerned about the number of uninsured New Mexicans? 

We'd like to hear from you! Email callinshow@kunm.org, post your comments online, or call in live during the show.  

Guests: 

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Public Health New Mexico
6:40 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

New Mexico in Last Place for Child Well-Being

sparth via Compfight cc

UPDATE Feb. 19, 2014, at 1 p.m.: SJR 12 is stuck in committee. A measure that would tie the state's minimum wage to inflation passed the Senate and is awaiting a vote in the House.

Today marked the start of the legislative session and Celebrating Children and Youth Day at the Roundhouse.

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Public Health New Mexico
6:10 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

OptumHealth: Martinez Administration Knew Of Potential Fraud In 2009

Elizabeth Martin (R) addresses Legislative Finance Committee members on Jan. 20, 2014. LFC staff Pam Galbraith sits to her right.
Credit Deborah Martinez

A company that oversaw $135 million worth of Medicaid services in New Mexico told a legislative committee Monday that it had been sounding alarms long before payments were frozen to 15 behavioral health providers after an audit last year; however, lawmakers  pointed out that doesn’t square with OptumHealth’s own consistently high audit scores for those firms.

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Public Health New Mexico
10:50 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Funding Would Boost Native Youth Suicide Prevention

"What we need from our tribal leaders and policymakers is more traditional knowledge, traditional leadership and a bigger role in the communities."
Credit —Honoring Native Life—Watch the video here: bit.ly/HonorLife

    In the fall of 2009, four young people in the southeastern part of the state died by suicide. Three were Mescalero Apaches.

Just a few months later, in the spring of 2010, five Navajo teens also died by suicide in Thoreau, a town in Western New Mexico of fewer than 2,000.

The series of Native American teen suicides those two years made it clear: New Mexico was experiencing a crisis.

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Public Health New Mexico
3:42 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Most NM Enrollees Eligible For Health Insurance Discounts

New Mexicans sign up for Obamacare at an event in Taos
Credit Deborah Martinez

 Almost 75 percent of the nearly 8,000 New Mexicans who have enrolled in insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act are eligible for discounts, according to numbers released by the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange Wednesday.  Officials are attributing the spike in the number of enrollees to the state’s multi-pronged advertising campaign.

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Public Health New Mexico
2:50 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Roswell Shooting Puts Focus On New Mexico Gun Violence

Between 2001 and 2010 2,392 people were killed by guns in New Mexico.
Credit Center For American Progress

On Tuesday, two students were flown to Lubbock, Texas, for medical treatment after a seventh-grade student at a Roswell middle school opened fire with a shotgun on a crowd in a gymnasium.

There is still no known motive for the shooting, and officials report the gunman stopped firing when a school staff member approached the student and asked him to put the gun down.

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Public Health New Mexico
1:56 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Judge Rules Physician Aid in Dying is Legal

Hamed Saber via Compfight cc

A District Court judge ruled today that it's legal for doctors in New Mexico to prescribe medication so patients with terminal illnesses can end their own lives.

Judge Nan Nash wrote: "If decisions made in the shadow of one's imminent death regarding how they and their loved ones will face that death are not fundamental and at the core of these constitutional guarantees, then what decisions are?" 

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Public Health New Mexico
1:41 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

New EPA Report Details Threat Of NM Jet Fuel Spill

Current EDB contamination shown in relation to drinking water supply wells. Plume contouring based on 4th quarter 2011 data for the shallow zone.
Credit EPA

A new report from the US Environmental Protection Agency is projecting it could be 30 years before Albuquerque's drinking water wells are contaminated with jet fuel from a decades-old leak at Kirtland Airforce base.  But the impact could be felt much sooner for wells closer to the original contamination site.

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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
3:41 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

State Auditor: Behavioral Health Audit Report Had Crucial Language Removed

A page from the redacted PCG audit report released earlier this year.

Over the summer, the New Mexico Human Services Department froze Medicaid payments to a dozen mental health providers due to allegations of fraud.

The basis for those allegations: an audit conducted by an out-of-state company called PCG. That audit was never seen by the public or even by those accused of fraud. 

But in October, a heavily redacted version was released, and in it, PCG said it did not uncover what it would consider to be credible allegations 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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