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FOR A CONSORTIUM

Medical professionals encourage fix to healthcare

Posted

Near the beginning of the 2021 New Mexico Legislature, nine statewide health professions’ organizations sent a letter to legislators and the governor in support of the 2021 Health Security Bill. As a board member of the Health Security for New Mexicans Campaign, I am pleased to share the letter with readers.

Dear New Mexico Legislators,

Our nine organizations represent almost every arm of the state’s healthcare system. We treat those with heart disease, and we start IVs. We help people with debilitating pain find relief, as well as those with mental health conditions. We fill prescriptions, do health screenings and deliver babies. In clinics, offices, pharmacies, ERs and hospitals across New Mexico, we are there. And during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have continued to be there for our fellow New Mexicans.

Your political philosophies, as well as personal or family experiences, likely shape your conclusions about how to fix the widespread problems in American healthcare. Those factors hold true for us, too. But unlike most of you, every week we see up close the harm done from being uninsured, the tough dilemmas from being under-insured, the worry caused by provider shortages and the distress about unaffordable medications.

Too often, it seems we are wasting considerable time, money and morale as we navigate – for our patients – irrational obstacles to care. Those come from insurance company authorizations, differing drug formularies, computer entry requirements, too many middlemen, byzantine coding systems, rejections of legitimate charges, distorted incentives and more.

All this means that we have, collectively, a deep understanding of what is broken and wasteful in today’s health system. Many of us have watched for decades as one hot new reform after another has been tried, with most leading to more complexities, less focus on the patients we serve and mind-boggling costs.

Given this background, the organizations we represent believe the proposed Health Security approach has multiple major advantages over today’s complicated system. Taking this path would ensure near universal health coverage in our state, with most New Mexicans covered by the comprehensive Health Security Plan itself. That would allow providers to focus much more on each patient’s needs, and less on their insurance plan. Drawing clinicians to the state would likely get much easier.

We also appreciate that the Health Security Plan eliminates networks for its members but does not disrupt how care is actually delivered via private and public practitioners and facilities. In addition, three independent analyses have shown that Health Security would save New Mexicans hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Importantly, the 2020 study explicitly assumes stable provider incomes and fair future increases.

For these reasons and more, we support the passage of the Health Security bill this winter. We are pleading with you: please listen to those of us in the trenches and take this critical step now, so that we clinicians can, in just a few years, be less burdened while giving high quality care to all New Mexicans at a lower cost.

Sincerely,

N.M. Public Health Association

Shelley Mann-Lev MPH, president

N.M. Pediatric Society

Alexandra Cvijanovich M.D., president

N.M. Nurse Practitioner Council

Melissa Reitz FNP-BC, president

N.M. Society for Acupuncture and Asian Medicine

Dr. Yvonne Wylie Walston, DOM CMI, president

Psychiatric Medical Association of N.M.

Pamela Arenella M.D., president

N.M. Pharmacists Association

Dale Tinker, executive director

The Committee of Interns and Residents, U.N.M.

Mina Sardashti M.D., president and SEIU’s regional vice president for N.M.

N.M. Podiatric Medical Association

Janet Simon DPM, president

N.M. Counselors Association

Bryan Moffitt PhD, president