Public Health New Mexico

KUNM's Public Health New Mexico reporting project provides in-depth, investigative and continuous coverage of public health in New Mexico, with an emphasis on poverty. For all articles and web exclusive content, go to publichealthnm.org 

Mora County Sues Over Opioid Epidemic

Sep 22, 2017
Ed Williams / Public Health New Mexico

The opioid epidemic has racked up enormous costs for local governments in New Mexico, as cities and counties struggle to pay for medical care, law enforcement and treatment services for people dealing with addiction.

In recent years a growing number of local governments have been taking opioid manufacturers and distributors to court over those costs—including Mora County northeast of Santa Fe. 

Santa Fe County Holding Special Election Today

Sep 19, 2017
@jbtaylor via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Santa Fe County is holding a special election Tuesday to decide whether to raise the gross receipts tax to fund behavioral health services.

If voters approve the measure, taxes in the county will go up one sixteenth of one percent. Officials estimate that will add up to about $2 million a year, which will go to pay for behavioral health services as well as more public safety positions.

FeeLoona via Pixabay / creative commons license

New Mexico’s poverty rate is getting even worse for children under five years old, according to new numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Now some child advocates and state legislators are renewing their calls to use money from the state’s permanent fund to pay for childhood programs. 

Ed Williams / KUNM/Public Health New Mexico

Bernalillo County is joining a growing number of state and local governments in taking drug companies to court over the opioid epidemic. The county's decision to sue the drug companies comes just a week after Mora County filed its own suit in district court. 

Tanker Supplies Drinking Water To Carrizozo

Sep 6, 2017
User #3345408 via Pixabay / Creative Commons License

Albuquerque’s water utility is helping out a small New Mexico town to the south.

The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority sent a 6,000-gallon water tanker to supply residents in Carrizozo while that city investigates sulfate contamination in the groundwater supply.

HSD Moves Ahead With Unpopular Medicaid Changes

Sep 6, 2017
WerbeFabrikvia pixabay / creative commons license

The New Mexico Human Services Department has been considering charging Medicaid recipients copays in an effort to save money from the state’s cash-strapped budget. The proposals were met with strong opposition in public meetings earlier this year. But the state is moving forward with the changes anyway. 

Albuquerque Mayoral Candidate Forums

Sep 1, 2017
Freeabqimages.com

These mayoral forums are a chance to meet and learn about Albuquerque’s mayoral candidates. Topics covered include public safety and police, public health, the economy, and much more. Check them out.

State of the City Mayoral Forum 
Organized by ABQ Center for Peace and Justice
Friday, September 1,  6 – 8 PM
North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center
7521 Carmel Ave NE

Commission Reviewing Adult Guardianship

Aug 31, 2017
StockSnap via Pixabay / creative commons license

When an adult is not able to take care of themselves because of a disability or brain injury, the courts can appoint a guardian. A commission is reviewing the state’s adult guardianship system and will be taking public comments Friday.

Let's Talk Equal Access To Education

Aug 29, 2017
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Let's Talk New Mexico 8/31 8a: Call now 277-KUNM or 277-5866. You can also call toll-free 1-877-899-5866. Are all New Mexico’s students getting the same quality education? A lawsuit against the state says the answer is no, and that low-income kids, kids who speak languages other than English, and kids with disabilities aren't getting their fair share.

Uncertainty Lingers For NM Insurance Markets

Aug 25, 2017
Images Money via CC / Creative Commons

For months health insurance providers on the New Mexico exchange have been struggling with uncertainty—over whether the Affordable Care Act would be repealed, and now over whether the White House will authorize subsidies to insurers after the month of August.

More Fluoride For Albuquerque And Bernalillo County?

Aug 23, 2017
Creative Commons via Pixabay

UPDATE 8/24: The vote to put additional fluoride into the water supply in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County was postponed Wednesday night, after lacking enough votes from water utility board members to pass the measure.

Balderas Opposes Rollback Of Nursing Home Rule

Aug 21, 2017
Horia Varlan via Flickr / Creative Commons License

New Mexico’s attorney general is opposing a move by President Trump to undo an Obama-era rule protecting nursing home patients.

Andre Ininiemima via Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons License

Health advocates want money from an $18 million settlement from Volkswagen to be invested in new electric school buses in order to improve the state’s air quality.

Bernalillo County

Water has always been at the center of the controversy over Santolina, a massive project planned for over 20 square miles on a dusty mesa west of Albuquerque. The project got another boost Tuesday after officials voted to allow the project’s developers more time to come up with a plan for water use.

Mike Tungate via Wikimedia / creative commons license

The Bernalillo County Commission will hold another public meeting Tuesday on Santolina, a controversial 22-square mile residential development planned for an area west of Albuquerque.

Tumiso via Pixabay / Creative Commons License

Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act died in Congress last week – at least for now. But local insurance carriers are still struggling with a lot of unknowns under President Trump.

jensjunge via Pixabay / creative commons license

Health advocates in New Mexico are urging lawmakers to improve Medicaid and the insurance markets now that Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act have failed. 

LISTEN: Cutting Medicaid To Fix The State Budget

Jul 25, 2017
Images Money via Flickr / creative commons license

KUNM Call In Show 7/27 8a: As New Mexico grapples with a budget crisis, the state is considering whether to save money by making changes to Medicaid—things like charging copays for prescriptions and doctor visits and eliminating dental care for Medicaid recipients. 

UNM Teen Pregnancy Prevention Research Cut Short

Jul 19, 2017
abhijit chendvankar / Flickr via Creative Commons

New Mexico has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the nation, and now that the Trump Administration has slashed funding for teen pregnancy prevention projects, researchers here say it’s like the rug has been pulled out from under them.

Medicaid Copay Plan Met With Strong Opposition

Jul 18, 2017
annekarakash via Pixabay / creative commons license

New Mexico is considering a plan to charge Medicaid patients copays as a way to save the state money. The proposal is drawing strong criticism from health care groups, poverty advocates and Medicaid recipients.

HSD Considering Medicaid Copays

Jul 14, 2017
estableman via Pixabay / creative commons license

New Mexico allotted $940 million to pay for its share of Medicaid costs this year, but that’s still not enough to keep up with the growing number of people signing up for the program. The state Human Services Department is considering charging copays to people on Medicaid as part of a plan to cut costs.

forcal35 via Pixabay / creative commons license

Poverty advocates say the Republicans’ new plan to repeal and replace Obamacare would leave many low-income people in New Mexico without coverage.

Iraqi Chooses Sanctuary In The U.S. Over Deportation

Jul 13, 2017
Sarah Trujillo via KUNM

An Iraqi man chose to seek refuge in a church in Albuquerque today rather than report for deportation.

Community Farm Puts Down Roots In South Valley

Jul 11, 2017
Pixabay via Public Domain

The South Valley near Albuquerque is seeing an agricultural renaissance of sorts. First Choice Community Healthcare just broke ground today on a community farm there. Advocates are fixing their attention on local food as a form of preventative health care.

AG Sues Feds Over Methane Rule Delay

Jul 6, 2017
anita starzycka via Pixabay / creative commons license

Attorneys General in New Mexico and California are suing the federal government over its delay of Obama-era air pollution rules. 

Rural Health Care Options Continue To Fall Short

Jun 30, 2017
Joe Green / Flickr via Creative Commons

What if you’re racing to the hospital, but it’s an hour away – or more? Pregnant women living in northern New Mexico have to cross over sixty miles to deliver their babies with a doctor or midwife. But in this state, half the battle is getting physicians to work in rural areas.

Senate Health Bill Could Impact Older New Mexicans

Jun 28, 2017
stevepb via Pixabay / creative commons license

This week the Congressional Budget Office released its report on the Senate bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. It found a number of impacts for older Americans. Those changes could be felt particularly hard in New Mexico.

Wikimedia Commons

The Senate released a revised GOP health care bill on Thursday, June 22, with major cuts to Medicaid, reproductive health, and mental health programs widely used by people in New Mexico. Advocates are saying the changes could have long-lasting negative impacts.

Potential Changes To Medicaid Draw Criticism

Jun 15, 2017
Sarah Trujillo / KUNM

More than three years after the health care expansion, 43 percent of New Mexico’s total population is signed up for Medicaid. But budgets are tight, and the Human Services Department is trying to figure out how to make it all work. Some of the  proposals presented at a public meeting in Albuquerque were contentious.

Heinrich On Medicaid And ACA Overhaul

Jun 14, 2017
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons by cliff1066™

More than 50,000 people in the U.S. died because of an opioid overdose last year, which is an all-time high.

The opioid epidemic was the subject of Congress’s Joint Economic Committee hearing last week. New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich, a Democrat, is the ranking member of that committee. He spoke with KUNM about the hearing and the prospects for behavioral health in the Republican health care replacement bill. 

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