© New Mexico Alliance of Health Councils

News

  • 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.

  • 26 Mar 2015 12:15 PM | Ron Hale (Administrator)

    We are happy to report that an appropriation of $200,000 is in the budget bill that was sent by the Legislature to the Governor, thanks to the efforts of Representative Sharon Clahchischilliage, Senator Howie Morales, and House Speaker Don Tripp.  We are extremely grateful to these and other legislative allies of the health councils.  We are also grateful to all those health council members who have worked so hard on this process and made key contributions along the way.

     

    The next step is the review of the budget by the Governor and her staff, with the possibility of exercising her pocket veto power over individual items in the budget.  We are asking everyone--health council coordinators and members, and others who are familiar with the important work of the health councils--to contact Governor Martinez to ask her to approve this particular appropriation (i.e., to not veto it), which says: 

     

     "Two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) for county and tribal councils to identify local community health needs."  

     

    The exact wording in the original legislation was "to identify and address local community health needs."  In your communications to the Governor, it is probably worth mentioning that health councils not only identify local health needs; they also develop community action plans and actions to address those needs.  This funding, like previous appropriations, will be administered by the Department of Health, and will be added to the current recurring budget item of $195,000, which has translated into $5,000/health council.

     

    I have attached sample of a letter that might be used.  However, this is only a suggestion; it is important to make it local:  to state in your own words what your health council has been able to do in your community, and how much more it will be able to do with additional funding.  You can emphasize that health councils have demonstrated their ability to bring people together to improve the health of everyone, including children, families, and seniors.  They have local support, and they bring in additional resources to communities to create healthier communities.  

     

    Letters:

    Governor Susana Martinez

    Office of the Governor

    490 Old Santa Fe Trail, #400

    Santa Fe, NM 87501

     

    Telephone calls:(505) 476-2200

     

    e-mail messages:  fill out the Contact Form at: http://www.governor.state.nm.us/Contact_the_Governor.aspx.

     

    Contacts to the Governor should be made as soon as possible.  

     

    Thank you all for your amazing work, and thank you for helping in this collaborative effort to restore partial State funding to the health councils.

     

     

  • 13 Feb 2015 1:55 PM | Ron Hale (Administrator)

    The Senate Indian and Cultural Affairs today voted a "Do-Pass" on SB79, the health council funding legislation sponsored by Senator Howie Morales.  Several people were on hand to testify, if necessary, on behalf of the legislation:  Dick Mason from Sandoval, Patricia Boies from Santa Fe, Lore Pease from Rio Arriba, and Kim Gabaldon from Los Alamos County.  This follows a similar action by the House Government, Elections, and Indian Affairs Committee yesterday, with HB99, the companion bill in the House, sponsored by Representative Sharon Clahchischilliage.

     

    The next step will be for an appropriation to be incorporated into the House Budget Bill, HB2, by the House Appropriations and Finance Committee.  The budget will then go over to the Senate Finance Committee for modifications.  The goal is to get the entire $900,000 incorporated into the house budget, and failing that, to have the full amount inserted on the Senate side.  It is clear that in the Legislature we have increasingly wide understanding and support for the health councils, and their role as a vital part of the New Mexico's public health system.  We also have able and committed allies in Rep. Clahchischilliage and Senator Morales.  Our major challenges are the increasingly pessimistic revenue forecasts (based on the price of oil), and the fact that the health council funding was not included in the original Executive and Legislative Finance Committee budgets.

     

    It will be extremely important to contact legislators to ask for their support for this appropriation--and especially those on the House and Senate finance committees.  Members of these two committees are listed below.  

     

    Thanks to everyone for your active support and continued great work.

     

  • 02 Feb 2015 2:38 PM | Ron Hale (Administrator)
    Bill Weise at Public Health DayRetta Ward at NM Public Health DayHowie Morales at NM Public Health Day

    The NM Alliance of Health Councils worked with the NM Public Health Association, NM Dept. of Health, and 20 other groups to organize a Public Health Day at the Legislature on January 26.  In addition to information tables from the participating agencies and organizations, there was a program of speakers that included Dr. Bill Wiese of UNM and representatives of NMPHA and NM Dept. of Health.

     

    Senator Howie Morales gave an impassioned talk in support of the health council legislation.  DOH Cabinet Secretary Retta Ward made a surprise visit, gave a very supportive talk, and stayed for the entire program.  The program began with a musical presentation by interns from the Explora Museum in Albuquerque, under the able direction of Marsha McMurray-Avila.  In addition, several representatives of health councils spoke about their work:

     

    Marsha McMurray-Avila, Coordinator, Bernalillo County Health Council

    Richard Kozoll, MD, Sandoval County Health Council

    Judy Williams, Ph.D. , Chair, Santa Fe Health Policy & Planning Commission

    Chris DeBolt, Coordinator, Grant Co. Community Health Council

    Lauren Reichelt, Health & Human Services Director, Rio Arriba County

     

    Many thanks to the speakers and to everyone who worked so hard to make this event a success--both in terms of getting the word out, and in bringing together many of the key players in the larger public health community in New Mexico.


  • 02 Feb 2015 2:20 PM | Ron Hale (Administrator)

     

     

    Mobilizing Communities for Health

     

     

    Legislation to restore funding to the health councils has been filed in both houses of the New Mexico Legislature:

     

    House Bill 99, sponsored by Representative Sharon Clahchischilliage, R-San Juan County

    Senate Bill 79, sponsored by Senator Howie Morales, D-Grant County

     

    Both bills use identical language:  

     

    $900,000 is appropriated from the general fund to the department of health for expenditure in fiscal year 2016 to fund county and tribal health councils' identification of local communities' health needs and development of strategies to address those needs pursuant to the maternal and Child Health Plan Act.

     

    HB 99 has been assigned to two committees:  

     

    House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs

    House Appropriations and Finance

     

    The legislative process for these bills will include the following steps:

    1. Bill analysis and Fiscal Impact Report are conducted by the NM Dept. of Health.  (The Fiscal Impact Report has been completed and includes references to evaluation data showing that health councils have been able to raise/leverage substantial amounts of outside funding.)
    2. House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee will review and vote on HB99.  Rep. Clahchischilliage, sponsor of HB99, is a member of this committee.
    3. House Appropriations and Finance Committee will review and vote on HB99.  This committee will decide whether to include the requested appropriation in House Bill 2, the budget bill.  Once the funding is included in the budget, HB99 will no longer be a separate, numbered bill.
    4. HB2, the House budget, will then go to the Senate Finance Committee, which may opt to approve the appropriation or to increase the amount.  Sen. Howie Morales is on Senate Finance, so he will be in a position to insert or increase an appropriation to support health councils.
    5. The budget will be voted on by the full Senate and sent to the Governor.
    6. The Governor will sign, veto, or line item veto the budget.  (We have met with staff members in the Governor's office, and they now have a clear understanding of the health council funding legislation.  We are also confident that the Department of Health will recommend keeping any health council appropriation.)

    Steps 2-6 are all potential points of intervention in which it will be important let legislators (and finally, Governor Martinez) know that you support the restoration of funding for the health councils, and you urge its approval.  The NM Alliance of Health Councils send e-mail alerts at various points in the process, urging everyone to make their feelings known, first to legislators, and then to the Governor.

     

    Thanks to the county and tribal health councils and their partner organizations for building this movement toward healthier communities throughout New Mexico.  

     

     

  • 08 Jan 2015 7:36 PM | Ron Hale (Administrator)

    There is a planned Public Health Day at the Legislature on Monday, January 26, 2015.  Over 20 groups will have exhibit tables set up throughout the day, and will available from 8 AM to 5 PM, although many groups may leave by mid-afternoon.  There will be a program of speakers and music during the noon hour.

     

    There are still a few spaces left for tables.  If your health council or organization would like to have a table, please contact Ron Hale at ronhale@aol.com or Dick Mason at polirich@aol.com

     

    This should be a great event, as well as an opportunity to interact with legislators and others at the State Capitol, and to spread the word about New Mexico's health councils.

     

    Thanks, and we wish you all the best for a great New Year!

  • 17 Oct 2014 1:59 PM | Ron Hale (Administrator)

    The New Mexico Department of Health has been working with the county-based health councils to compile important data regarding health status indicators and demographics, with the help of contracted epidemiologist David Broudy.  The health councils have been analyzing and interpreting the data as part of engaging their own communities in conducting local community health assessments.  For more information, please contact each health council directly.  Tribal health councils have also been conducting community health assessments, but as sovereign nations, their data is not made available to the general public.

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