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  • 14 Mar 2016 4:01 PM | Helen Henry (Administrator)

    Health System Innovation: Community Stakeholder Engagement Report and AppendixThese documents summarize the results of community meetings and input sessions that were organized and hosted by the County and Tribal Health Councils during the summer and fall of 2015. This was part of New Mexico's Health System Innovation planning process, which included Stakeholder Summit Meetings and Steering Committee meetings that occurred at the state level. This was truly a collaborative effort, involving the health councils, Department of Health staff, the Alliance of Health Councils, and many community partners.

    Highlights of the HSI community engagement results: There were over 130 community meetings conducted by and with health councils, and every one of them had diverse comments about the health challenges that we face, as well as the approaches and solutions that can contribute to improving the health of New Mexico communities. Among health challenges, the communities cited the need for greater access to health care at all levels, including primary care, specialty care, urgent care, and hospital services. The information shows that New Mexico faces a continuing crisis in behavioral health--there is a need for additional prevention, intervention, and treatment services, in mental health substance abuse, and related problems like interpersonal violence and drug-related deaths. At the same time, New Mexico has a wealth of resources and approaches that are working, and that in many cases should be expanded. A few of these are community health centers and Health Commons facilities; community-based emergency medical services; community health workers; telehealth networks; food policy councils; community food, nutrition, and exercise programs; and health fairs and other health education efforts. A number of communities talked about the value of coordination of services and resources at the local and statewide levels. Having agencies and community groups that talk to one another and work together is critical to improving the health of communities.

    Roles of the health councils: The County and Tribal Health Councils continue to be at the center of efforts to improve coordination, communication, planning, and mobilizing communities to identify and address local health needs. In the HSI community engagement process, there were many comments about the current and future roles of health councils. Many people felt that the health councils should be at the center of local coordinating hubs that will ensure the success of the HSI Design at the community level.

    Many, many thanks to all who helped make this process work: Health council members and coordinators, other community participants, New Mexico Department of Health regional and statewide staff, and others. It could not have happened without you. Thank you.

    The other Health System Innovation documents may be seen on the NM Department of Health website, at http://nmhealth.org/about/asd/opa/sim/

  • 12 Mar 2016 8:48 PM | Helen Henry (Administrator)

    It was with great sadness and shock that we learned of the passing of Retta Ward, Cabinet Secretary of the NM Dept. of Health. Retta (she preferred using first names) was wonderful to work with. She was a careful listener and a conscientious, knowledgeable, and dedicated public servant, as well as a warm and caring person. She had a gift for making everyone feel they had a special relationship with her.

    Secretary Ward often ventured out from the security of her fourth-floor office to interact with her employees, colleagues, and constituents. She could often be seen walking briskly around the block outside the Runnels Building with colleagues, or stopping to say hi in doorways. Her leadership style was to hire good people and then allow, inspire, and support them to do their best—even if it meant changing the way things had been done in the bureaucracy for years.

    In 2015, the New Mexico Alliance of Health Councils joined with other public health groups to organize a Public Health Day at the Legislature, with a noontime program in the Capitol Rotunda. Secretary Ward stopped by, stayed the whole time, and gave an eloquent, impromptu talk on how public health efforts are addressing some of the intractable health issues that we face in New Mexico. This year, she agreed to have the Dept. of Health co-sponsor the event.

    Six months ago, we had a meeting in a county health office with representatives of several northern New Mexico counties who had expressed serious concerns about recent Department of Health actions. Halfway through the meeting, Retta came in (unannounced and unexpected), listened carefully, asked questions, and responded thoughtfully.

    We will miss her very much.

    Ron Hale Executive Director New Mexico Alliance of Health Councils

    (Published in the Santa Fe New Mexican, Tuesday, March 8, 2016)


  • 15 Dec 2015 8:52 PM | Ron Hale (Administrator)
    Interested organizations and individuals are invited to become Associate Members of the NM Alliance of Health Councils.  Benefits of Associate Membership include participating in a network of entities that is a critical part of the state's public health infrastructure, and keeping up to date on news and events affecting public and community health in New Mexico.  Download the application here.
  • 15 Dec 2015 8:46 PM | Ron Hale (Administrator)

    The New Mexico Alliance of Health Councils has updated its Strategic Plan for 2016.  The updated plan includes a progress report in meeting 2015 objectives.  Click here to view the draft Strategic Plan.  NMAHC members are asked to review the plan and make any comments or suggested changes.  Please send feedback to Ron Hale at ronhale@aol.com by December 31, 2015. 

  • 01 Nov 2015 2:01 PM | Ron Hale (Administrator)

    The New Mexico Alliance of Health Councils will again co-sponsor a Public Health Day at the Legislature on Wednesday, January 27, 2016, to celebrate and share our collective accomplishments and aspirations for public health in New Mexico.  Last year's event was very successful, with 23 organizations represented and interesting and lively presentations during the noon hour in the Capitol Rotunda.  The New Mexico Department of Health and other groups will co-sponsor the 2016 Public Health Day.

    A limited number of tables at the Roundhouse will available for health councils to share their information--either at their own table or at a shared table manned by the Alliance of Health Councils.  Health councils will have first shot at reserving a table for the day; if you are interested, please contact Dick Mason, NMAHC Policy Committee Chair, at polirich@aol.com by November 6, 2015.  Please see below for details.

    We have two other requests:  We would like to have a running slide show at the Public Health Day of photos to illustrate the many activities of health councils and their partners around the state.  Please send any photos to us sometime during the next few weeks, so that we can share your activities and accomplishments with legislators and visitors to the capitol.  We also need written descriptions of health council activities to assemble printed materials, as well as for posting on the Alliance website. 

    Thank you!

  • 21 Sep 2015 11:02 PM | Ron Hale (Administrator)


    The New Mexico Alliance of Health Councils is working with the Con Alma Health Foundation to learn how the Affordable Care Act is working in New Mexico communities.  Here is a link to a brief survey to gather information from around the state.  We would appreciate it if you could take a few minutes to click on the link and answer the questions about how the ACA is working in your community.  This will provide important feedback that can be used to improve health coverage and service in New Mexico.

    Also, please distribute this e-mail to your membership and e-mail lists.  The more information we can gather from New Mexico communities, the better.

    Thank you for your help!

  • 25 Aug 2015 11:14 AM | Ron Hale (Administrator)

    A health comparison, completed recently by the New Mexico Department of Health, finds New Mexico among the top 15 states in key health-related areas including fewest number of cancer or stroke deaths, highest rate of adult seatbelt use, and lowest number of overweight or obese adults.


    New Mexico has the sixth lowest rate of cancer deaths and the seventh lowest number of deaths by stroke. The state also does well on several other health issues, such as adult safety belt use (9th highest nationwide), heart disease deaths (10th lowest), adult binge drinking (13th lowest) adult obesity (15th lowest), youth alcohol use (15th lowest), and infant mortality (16th lowest).


    New Mexico is still at or near the bottom with respect to unintentional injury deaths (50),  drug overdose deaths (50), alcohol-induced deaths (49), and births to girls age 15-19.  In the last five years, New Mexico has made the greatest improvements in youth alcohol use and youth smoking. 


    For more information, go to: http://nmhealth.org/news/information/2015/8/?view=294   

  • 01 Jun 2015 3:59 PM | Ron Hale (Administrator)

    By now, many members of county and tribal health councils will already have heard about the SIM project, which is an ambitious effort to examine the various components of New Mexico’s health system, and to develop innovative ways to re-design that system to function more effectively and efficiently.   The SIM project is being funded by a grant from the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The project has two phases:  Design (1-2 years) and Implementation (up to 3 years).  To date, 34 states, three territories, and the District of Columbia have received a total of over $1 billion. The initiative has three aims, and five objectives:

     

    Triple Aim:

    ·       Improve Population health

    ·       Enhance patient experience of care

    ·       Reduce health care costs

     

    Objectives:

    ·       Alignment and integration of public health and primary care

    ·       Reducing costs and slowing the rate of health care inflation

    ·       Increasing the number of New Mexicans who have health insurance

    ·       Building the healthcare workforce and supporting infrastructure

    ·       Expanding the use and integration of health information technology

     

    Role of the NM Alliance of Health Councils:  The Department of Health will contract with the NMAHC to assist the DOH Regional Health Promotion Teams with the community input process, including helping to facilitate sessions and gather and compile community data.  The NMAHC will also serve as a member of the Steering Committee.

     

    More information is available on the NM Dept. of Health website at www.nmhealthsysteminnovation.org. 

     

  • 28 May 2015 4:43 PM | Ron Hale (Administrator)

    The New Mexico Alliance of Health Councils is collaborating with the Con Alma Health Foundation, UNM, Health Action New Mexico, and others on an initiative to monitor the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in New Mexico.  This initiative, funded by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, will gather data on various aspect of how the ACA is working in New Mexico, using a variety of research methods.  One of those research activities will be a series of focus groups to be held throughout New Mexico.  The health councils in those areas will be asked to help in suggesting people and community groups to be represented in those focus groups.  In addition, we will be asking some questions about health insurance coverage and how the ACA is working as part of Community Input Sessions being held with health councils under the auspices of the Department of Health’s State Innovation Model (SIM) project.  For more information on the ACA project, contact Ron Hale, NMAHC Executive Director, at ronhale@aol.com. 

  • 28 May 2015 4:22 PM | Ron Hale (Administrator)

    New Mexico’s County and Tribal Health Councils will receive an additional $200,000 in annual funding, beginning July 1, 2015, as part of the overall budget passed by the 2015 Legislature and signed into law by Governor Susana Martinez.  The funding will be allocated and administered by the New Mexico Dept. of Health

     

    There are many, many people who worked hard to help make this happen.  First of all, members of the health councils rallied to participate in the 2015 Public Health Day at the Legislature, to testify before House and Senate Committees, and to send calls and e-mails to their legislators.  NMAHC Policy Chair and Treasurer Dick Mason was at the Roundhouse most days during the legislative session, following up on various tasks, visiting legislators, and making sure that things were happening as planned.  Chris DeBolt, Coordinator of the Grant County Health Council, made a key phone call to council member Tony Trujillo, who made another key phone call to the Legislative Finance Committee to make a small but important correction in the budget language.  We can’t mention every person who helped, but we appreciate everyone’s help in this process.

     

    For an account of the legislative funding process and some lessons learned, click on the following link: Legislative Funding Timeline.

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