Moving into a new home is an exciting event, but for people who have experienced homelessness, the joy is especially poignant. In Santa Fe, the renovated Stage Coach Motor Inn IS preserving its classic nicho and viga architecture ... and working to preserve a sense of permanency for some new tenants. KUNM's Poverty and Public Health reporter Deborah Martinez has the story.
(amby beep beep of wheelchair):
Mark Olson can't seem to get the smile off his face, and he has a lot to be thankful for.
With drought affecting much of the southwest, the Navajo Nation is working to bring water to it's citizens with the tribal government recently approving over $8-million dollars for water infrastructure projects. The Navajo Nation is roughly the size of West Virginia, has a population of around 170,000 people, and much of the Nations citizens are in need of water.
In what's thought to be the first housing program of it's kind brought to a tribal community, the Pueblo of Zuni in western New Mexico has broken ground on a series of homes financed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The "Self-help housing" program works like this: the USDA gives your community a grant to finance housing, delivers supplies to build a home, provides blue prints, then - with the help of technical volunteers - oversees community members build their own homes.
Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Health Care Act is expected to bring in much needed dollars to the chronically underfunded Indian Health Service or IHS. But tribal health experts say the main game changer in Indian country will be new health insurance exchanges. For the first time ever, the IHS, a system traditionally open only to Native Americans, will be competing for non-Indian patients in order to survive. KUNM’s Tristan Ahtone reports.
Around 25-thousand Native Americans in New Mexico will become eligible for Medicaid when the Affordable Care Act goes into effect next year. The change translates to more money for the Indian Health Service. But as KUNM’s Poverty and Public Health Reporter Tristan Ahtone explains: in Albuquerque, Medicaid expansion will also force Native health providers to deal with something they’ve never faced before: competition from non-tribal health programs.
A legislative bill signed into law Friday by Governor Susana Martinez will help victims of human trafficking get cash, emergency housing and other assistance. The new law takes effect July 1 and it also provides benefits and services for victims like child care, legal, and food assistance. Representative Gail Chasey and the nonprofit New Mexico Women's Agenda worked to develop the bill.
The New Mexico Department of Health reports that the distribution of Narcan is yielding promising results.
Often distributed through syringe exchange programs, Narcan works by causing the body to begin immediate withdrawal from heroin or prescription opioids, essentially reversing an overdose.
Brad Wharton, a drug epidemiologist with the New Mexico Department of Health, says in 2010 and 2011, with Narcan, Santa Fe County saw 12 overdose reversals and 19 heroin deaths; Bernalillo County, 96 overdose reversals and 77 heroin deaths; while in Rio Arriba County:
A report released Wednesday from the Center for American Progress, ranks New Mexico the 10th worst state in the nation for gun deaths.
The report, called "America Under The Gun," puts New Mexico's gun-death rate, 40% higher than the national average, and looked at 10 key indicators like homicide, firearm violence against women, as well violence against law enforcement officials.
This week, the Albuquerque Environmental Health Department convened a Bed Bug Conference to educate the public on bed bug basics: how to identify an infestation, how to treat it, and most importantly, how to prevent an infestation in the first place. KUNM's Poverty and Public Health reporter Tristan Ahtone went with Rita Daniels to learn about the bugs, and spread the message.
Nambe Pueblo and Taos County Economic Development Corporation are two of ten organizations nationally that have received funding for Native food-systems projects. The projects could bolster economic development while combating food insecurity, health and nutrition disparities in tribal communities.
The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority says it's in the final phases of unveiling high-speed broadband and wireless services for the majority of the Navajo Nation. The project would bring telecommunications services to the nations largest reservation straddling Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico.
A few companies have offered broadband accessibility to parts of the Navajo Nation in the past, however, historically, the Nation has dealt with little to no telecommunications access.
According to the 2012 Childhood Obesity Update, nearly 15% of kindergarten students and 22% of third graders are obese.
It's the third year data has been collected, and New Mexico's numbers appear to be leveling off, which is consistent with national trends. However, access to healthy food and adopting healthy behaviors, remain a significant problem for the state, especially in rural and frontier areas.
A lack of funding for the Federal Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) has caused New Mexico and other states to suspend enrollment in the plan for the rest of Fiscal Year 2013. Nationally, the PCIP program was budgeted at about 5-billion dollars for 2013, but has now run over budget resulting in the suspension of new applicants.
Approximately 2,000 New Mexicans are currently enrolled in PCIP, which serves people with pre-existing conditions that prevent them from obtaining health insurance through standard outlets.
With the possibility of sequestration two weeks away, the Indian Health Services says they could be facing large cuts to program funding. Those cuts could be disastrous for the Indian Health Service which is already dealing with a massively underfunded budget.
A bill that would allow Medicaid eligible tribal citizens in New Mexico to opt-out of the states Medicaid plan, Centennial Care, has taken it’s first steps in the legislature. HB 376, which gives Native Americans the ability to opt-out of Centennial Care has passed out of committee.
Under the states proposed Medicaid program entitled Centennial Care, all Medicaid enrollees in the state would be required to enroll in one of four managed care organizations (MCO) to receive healthcare.
For New Mexico’s tribal population, this proposal is causing problems.
During the annual State of Indian Nations address today, National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) President Jefferson Keel called on Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) with tribal provisions - which have been one of the primary sticking points for House Republicans.
Citing safety concerns of tribal citizens, NCAI President Jefferson Keel said one in three Native women will be raped in their lifetime; four in ten will be abused by their partner; and that Native women are murdered at rates nearly 10 times the national average.
The momentum is picking up for legislation that would tighten background checks on gun sales, and it could be brought to the floor of the House this week. The compromise bill has some Republican lawmakers' and the governor's support.
Albuquerque Representative Miguel P. Garcia is the sponsor of the bill which mandates background checks at gun shows and removes the provision to have the Department of Public Safety handle the checks. Instead the onus would be placed on the gun seller to get approval of the sale.
District 1 Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, says the impending sequestration crisis will hurt New Mexico’s economy. The Democrat was in Albuquerque today to meet with defense contractors and local business leaders.
On March 1st, the automatic cuts, known as sequestration, will take effect. Congress postponed them to March 1 as part of the “fiscal cliff” deal at the beginning of January.
Lujan Grisham says the spending cuts are across the board with no regard to what’s working and what’s not.
The New Mexico Human Services Department has announced the selection of four, new Centennial Care Managed Care Organizations responsible for providing healthcare to nearly 600,000 New Mexicans.
Medicaid is the public health insurance program for low-income people which currently serves about 560,000 New Mexicans, and will expand to include about 170,000 more come 2014. Centennial Care is the new name for New Mexico’s Medicaid program.
New Mexico's homeless programs that help people get a fresh start could get a funding boost if a legislative bill wins approval in Santa Fe.
Senate Bill 50 is sponsored by Albuquerque Republican Sander Rue. He says as a member of the Mortgage Finance Authority interim committee, he wanted to do something to help homeless people and families hit hard by the recession.
Key points of the 2013 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard report that most New Mexicans live in asset poverty. In other words, they lack both financial assets, like bank accounts and homes, but also lack education and educational opportunities.
Congressman Ben R. Lujan is spending some time in his district that includes the northern and eastern parts of the state. Tuesday he'll address state legislators. he also dropped by the studio to talk with our statehouse reporter Deborah Martinez. Here's part one of that interview.
New Mexico's Republican Governor Susana Martinez has approved the expansion of the state's Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act. Native American health advocates say the expansion will have a huge effect on one of the largest Native American populations in the nation.
Over 200,000 registered tribal members live in New Mexico - and with nearly 40% of that population lacking healthcare - it's estimated that over 25-thousand Native people in New Mexico will potentially be eligible for the program in 2014.
Nationally, Native American women are more likely to be killed, raped, assaulted and stalked than any other women in the country, according to federal crime and health data. What’s more, the offenders are both native and non-native. There’s been a breakdown in traditional practices, lack of funding for services and when it comes to non-natives, tribes don’t have the authority to arrest them on their own lands. A controversial law offered solutions but never made it through Congress in 2012.
New Mexico has one of the largest Native American populations in the nation with over 200,000 registered tribal members and it’s estimated that nearly 40% lacks health insurance. New Mexico has announced it will build a state-run healthcare exchange under the Affordable Care Act. However, the state has yet to decide on whether to expand Medicaid, which could mean a lot of tribal members would suddenly have access to affordable healthcare.
Take Erik Lujan for example: At the age of 30, Lujan, a Taos Pueblo tribal member, began experiencing medical problems.