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Kenny Vigil
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Plan for Newly Awarded Federal Grant

January 6, 2015 - Public Relations - Information

The New Mexico Department of Health announced how it plans to utilize a nearly $2 million grant awarded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as part of the State Innovation Model (SIM) Initiative. New Mexico will use the funds to design a plan to enhance patient experience of care, reduce health care costs and improve population health.

“The Department of Health, in collaboration with the Human Services Department, will lead the effort to improve access to health care and the health of all New Mexicans,” said Governor Susana Martinez. “We will gather input from stakeholders and partners to design a plan to help meet New Mexico’s unique needs.”

The Innovative Design Grant is focused on planning and extensive stakeholder engagement, bringing partners together from all facets of the public health and health care systems, including representatives from local communities, to contribute design ideas.

New Mexico’s plan will address five main objectives:

  1. Alignment and integration of public health and primary care
  2. Reducing costs and slowing the rate of health care inflation
  3. Increasing the number of New Mexicans who have health insurance
  4. Building the healthcare workforce and supporting infrastructure
  5. Expanding the use and integration of health information technology

“During the design process, one of the concepts we will focus on is collaborative and sustainable initiatives around preventive care and healthy lifestyle choices,” said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Retta Ward, MPH. “If it’s easier for people to make healthy choices, we will drive down health care costs and our population will be healthier.”

The Department of Health expects to have the design completed by the end of 2015. The money will be used to hire additional staff at the Department of Health, and the Human Services Department. The Department will also be hiring contractors.

Over the past year, Governor Martinez has supported a multi-pronged approach to bolster the health care workforce in New Mexico. Initiatives include:

  • Establishment of a common nursing curriculum across the state so that colleges and universities can train more qualified nurses.
  • Voluntary certification for community health workers. The goal of the initiative is to utilize community health workers to provide more high-quality preventative care services in order to prevent costly visits to the emergency room, as well as better help patients manage chronic conditions and limit re-hospitalizations through improved after-care following hospital procedures.
  • A $600,000 expansion of telehealth, which connects patients and providers with experts and specialists in another location. Expanding the use of telehealth saves money for rural-area patients who would have otherwise had to travel to another location for care.

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