Public Health New Mexico

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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KUNM Call In Show
4:40 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Radiation Leak At WIPP

Credit Public domain image.

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 3/6 8a: Over a dozen employees at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad recently tested positive for radiation after sensors detected a radiation leak deep underground. We'll take your questions about the WIPP radiation leak and find out more about the health of the workers who were exposed.

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

277-5866

877-899-5866 (toll-free)

Host: Kathleen Sabo  Guests: 

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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
3:21 am
Fri February 28, 2014

13 Workers Exposed To Radiation At N.M. Nuclear Waste Dump

A hunk of salt from the underground nuclear waste dump in Carlsbad, New Mexico. A piece of salt is believed to have fallen from a cavern ceiling and crushed drums of waste.
Meg Vogel/NPR

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 11:21 am

There's never a good week for nuclear waste, but this week has been a particularly bad one. Officials at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico have disclosed that 13 employees inhaled radioactive material after a major accident earlier this month.

While there's no risk to the public and the exposed workers did not need immediate medical treatment, the incident is shaping up to be a major setback for the nation's only dedicated nuclear waste dump.

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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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Public Health New Mexico
10:23 am
Tue February 25, 2014

NM Attorney General: Health Audit Appears To Have Mistakenly Flagged Claims

The audit the state used to justify suspending Medicaid payments to an Alamogordo health center last year appears to have included mistakenly flagged claims, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.

That raises questions about the process the Human Services Department (HSD) used to ensure the audit was accurate before deciding to suspend Medicaid dollars to the Alamogordo organization.

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Public Health New Mexico
2:50 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Navajo Nation President: Tax Junk Food

Credit jeffadair via Flickr

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly recently vetoed legislation that would increase taxes on junk food sold on the reservation but says he will support a new, tweaked version.

The bill would have added a two-percent tax to all junk food sold on the Navajo Nation, and was designed to encourage healthy eating habits while fighting problems like diabetes.

But how the tax will be collected, how business owners will be impacted, and what actually constitutes junk food all need to be hammered out before Shelly signs off, which he hopes will be this year.

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Public Health New Mexico
1:25 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Casualties: Public Health Bills That Didn’t Make It

Credit Patrick Feller // Compfight cc

Among the governor’s goals in her 2014 State of the State Address: deal with the shortage of health care providers in New Mexico. Every county except one doesn’t have an adequate supply of physicians and dentists, according to the federal government. And about 170,000 more folks will be eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Though Gov. Susana Martinez has unrolled some plans to deal with the shortage, the Legislature wasn’t able to pass measures that would have boosted the state’s health care work force.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:40 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Survivors: Public Health Bills That Lived

Credit Wikimedia Commons: Jacob Lofman, PIX Incorporated, NYC, photographer

A 30-day legislative session—like the one that ended yesterday at noon—is mostly about hammering out a state budget. But other priorities sneak in, too, and 2014 saw a lot of public health-related bills. Here’s a look at the new laws and programs that made it out of Santa Fe alive.

Newborn Heart Disease Testing—HB 9

• Adds a test for congenital heart disease to the list of evaluations a newborn undergoes before being discharged.

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Public Health New Mexico
3:11 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Emergency Meds To Be In Schools

Credit M Intropin via Flickr

Senate Bill 75 was passed Thursday during the last day of the legislature. The Emergency Medications in Schools Act will allow school personnel, and in particular school nurses, to give students epinephrine shots or albuterol inhalers during emergency situations. 

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Shots - Health News
5:08 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Doctors Urge Patience, And Longer Labor, To Reduce C-Sections

A C-section delivery may be needed to protect the health of mother and child. But too many are done for the wrong reasons, doctors say.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 8:22 am

Women with low-risk pregnancies should be allowed to spend more time in labor, to reduce the risk of having an unnecessary C-section, the nation's obstetricians say.

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Public Health New Mexico
7:33 am
Thu February 20, 2014

What Is Public Health?

The 10 essential public health services.
Credit cdc.gov / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 2/20 8a:  What is public health?  Maybe the term makes you think of vaccinations or controlling and preventing diseases like diabetes and influenza.  But the field is much larger than that.  

Call 277-5866 in Albuquerque or toll-free 1-877-899-5866.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:51 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Lawmakers Ban Texting While Driving

Use of the cellphone while driving in order to send and receive text messages, or to navigate your route, raises the risk for an automobile accident dramatically.
Credit Centers for Disease Control

A bill that would prohibit texting while driving now heads to Governor Susana Martinez's desk for approval after clearing the legislature.

E-mail, instant messages and internet surfing all fall under the bills scope.

John McPhee is with New Mexico Department of Health. He says distracted driving is a growing problem across the country.

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Public Health New Mexico
3:55 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Disability Rights In The Roundhouse

By jena g. . Einar E. Kvaran aka 98.20.23.52 23:59, 1 June 2009, via Wikimedia Commons

UPDATE Feb. 19, 2014, 10:17 a.m.: SB 55 is awaiting a vote by the Senate.

Today was Disability Rights Awareness Day at the Roundhouse, and a bill calling for a plan for the state's troubled waiver program is stuck in committee awaiting a hearing. 

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Public Health New Mexico
3:44 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Senate OKs Plan To Fund Rural Hospitals

Jim_K-Town via Compfight cc

UPDATE Feb. 19, 2014, 10:35 a.m.: This measure is in the House Taxation and Revenue Committee.

The state Senate approved a bill last night that creates temporary funding for more than two dozen rural hospitals. 

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Public Health New Mexico
4:13 pm
Sat February 15, 2014

Health Guides Work To Convince Native Americans To Try Obamacare

Sonny Weahkee, a health guide working to sign Native Americans up for health insurance, demonstrates his outreach “rap” with coworkers outside the nonprofit’s headquarters in Albuquerque.
Credit Bryant Furlow / New Mexico In Depth

When he learns that signing up for Medicaid will mean he can visit a nearby hospital in Española instead of traveling to Santa Fe for urgent care, the Native American man sits back in his chair, eyebrows arched. Then he smiles.

“Cool! Oh that’s good,” the gray-haired, middle-aged man from Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo says.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:39 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Ineligible For Obamacare, Immigrants May Continue To Face Debt And Poor Health

Maria Cabrera listens to Kate O'Donnell explain the Presbyterian Hospital application process for financial assistance at Casa de Salud Family Medical Office. Cabrera has acquired medical debt beyond her ability to pay after suffering from a heart attack, and living with severe asthma. O'Donnell is a project coordinator who helps people with severe medical debt manage their accounts with hospitals and collection agencies.
Credit Natalia Jacquez

Maria Cabrera owed $57,000 dollars after she suffered a heart attack and ended up in an Albuquerque hospital.

“Once I was out of the hospital, I got completely in debt,” Cabrera said. “The debt was so large that I don’t even know what’s going on.”

A large amount of that debt was cut down through financial assistance, but she says the debt collectors are still calling, and she’s unclear of just how much she owes. 

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