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State officials seek public comment on hospital consolidation law

Presbyterian Hospital near Downtown Albuquerque.
Shelby Wyatt
Source New Mexico
Presbyterian Hospital near Downtown Albuquerque. A failed merger between Presbyterian Healthcare Services and Iowa-based UnityPoint Health helped start the conversation locally around hospital consolidation.

State officials are hosting the first of several meetings Friday seeking input on how to best safeguard New Mexico’s hospitals from outside influence that can negatively impact patients.

Hospitals facing financial instability can attract potentially predatory investment groups seeking to turn a quick profit. Often that comes in the form of charging more for services, outright cutting certain services altogether, reducing staff or employing other tactics that leave patients by the wayside.

State senator Katy Duhigg, who cosponsored a temporary law that provides oversight of hospital mergers and acquisitions, said that in crafting a long-term solution officials are holding meetings to get input from medical industry experts, and the general public alike.

“It involves those of us who are going to get these services every day, and so we want to make sure all voices are heard and taken into consideration,” she said.

Duhigg said those who can’t make it to this meeting will have the chance to have their voice heard at future events or they can go the direct route.

“Reach out to me. Reach out to the office of the superintendent,” she said. “We want to hear from folks.

WHERE: UNM Lobo Rainforest, 101 Broadway Boulevard NE, Albuquerque, NM 87102.

WHEN: Friday, June 7 at 2:00 p.m. MDT

To Attend virtually, contact Kim Sewell no later than 5:00 p.m. MDT Thursday, June 6.

Daniel Montaño is a reporter with KUNM's Public Health, Poverty and Equity project. He is also an occasional host of Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Let's Talk New Mexico since 2021, is a born and bred Burqueño who first started with KUNM about two decades ago, as a production assistant while he was in high school. During the intervening years, he studied journalism at UNM, lived abroad, fell in and out of love, conquered here and there, failed here and there, and developed a taste for advocating for human rights.
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