Wednesday News Roundup: Tribal Leaders Gather For White House Conference

Nov 13, 2013

Tribal Leaders Gather For White House Conference - Associated Press

American Indian leaders are gathered in Washington, D.C., to talk directly with officials in President Barack Obama's administration about their needs.

The White House Tribal Leaders Conference is scheduled for Wednesday. Obama is set to deliver remarks to representatives invited from 566 tribes across the country at the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Obama vowed during his election campaign to regularly meet with tribal leaders, to hear directly from them about how his administration can meet their needs and help improve their lives.

A newly formed White House Council on Native American Affairs is holding meetings and listening sessions that coincide with the conference. The topics include mascots, violent crime, sacred sites and education.

The National Congress of American Indians held a preparatory meeting for tribal leaders Tuesday.

Health Officials Urge Whooping Cough Booster Shot - Associated Press and The Albuquerque Journal

Health officials are urging parents to have their children re-immunized against whooping cough after an ongoing outbreak at an Albuquerque high school sickened 30 people.

State officials will be at La Cueva High School Wednesday evening to meet with parents and provide boosters shots that prevent infection.

Whooping cough is also called pertussis and is highly contagious. It typically isn't life-threatening for teens and healthy adults, but it can kill infants and people with weak immune systems.

New Mexico infectious disease epidemiologist David Selvage says students can bring the disease home and infect young children, expectant mothers and infants.

The Albuquerque Journal reports letters have been sent to La Cueva parents about the outbreak and Albuquerque Public Schools nurses are using nasal swabs to quickly diagnose cases.

PRC Approves PNM's Efficiency Incentives - Associated Press

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission has approved a plan by Public Service Company of New Mexico to offer $22.5 million in incentives for residents and businesses to reduce their energy use.

The PNM plan will give customers opportunities and incentives to improve energy efficiency through new lighting and appliances, weatherization and other building upgrades. In its plan, the utility said it expects energy efficiency to provide 82.5 gigawatt hours in savings over the next two years.

The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project is calls approval of the plan is "a win for ratepayers."

Governor To Seek Money To Recruit Medical Workers - Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez plans to ask the Legislature for $1.5 million next year to expand programs that can help bring nurses, dentists and other medical providers to rural areas of New Mexico.

The governor said Tuesday that part of the proposed money would go for a program offering loans to nursing students who agree to practice in medically underserved areas and a program that repays student loans of other health care professionals who make similar commitments to work in medically needy parts of New Mexico.

Martinez also wants to expand a program for New Mexicans to attend out-of-state dental programs in exchange for returning to practice in New Mexico.

The governor's office said the proposed financing would cover about 72 additional medical professionals annually.

Plan To Make NM More Competitive For Nursing Pros - Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez is proposing to make New Mexico more competitive for nursing professionals.

She's scheduled to announce a proposal Wednesday to streamline the process for nurses licensed in other states to become licensed in New Mexico.

Martinez also is expected to discuss her efforts to recruit more nurse practitioners from Texas, Oklahoma and Utah were restrictions on nurse practitioners are higher than in New Mexico.

Last week, Martinez announced a plan where nurses practicing in New Mexico who want to continue their professional development would be eligible for financial assistance from the state.

She says the state's health care workforce would be bolstered by expanding the nursing loan-for-service program.

Martinez says all but one of New Mexico's 33 counties are considered health professional shortage areas by the federal government.