Defenders of New Mexico’s Community Health Planning Council have reinstated their support after a House panel last week rejected a proposal to finally provide the funding needed to carry out its public health mission. I’m in a hurry to make it happen.
There are 33 health councils operating in every county in New Mexico, and nine more are based in tribal nations within the state, said tribal liaison Jerilyn Antonio. New Mexico Health Council Alliance.
“They definitely play a big role in our public health infrastructure,” Antonio said. “It definitely needs to be fully funded.”
Alliance Executive Director Valeria Alarcon said the Health Council is a lifeline for meeting public health needs in underserved communities, such as rural parts of the state and border towns.
According to Antonio, they acted as public health hubs for their communities and tracked COVID contracts. In 2022, the Health Council will host more than 24,000 of his Vaccine Equity events, helping more than 345,000 New Mexicans get vaccinated, Alarcon said.
during a pandemic started For example, in 2020, the Rio Arriba County Health Council sewed and distributed free masks to retail workers when they were out. Ban From purchasing a mask to wear at work, critical release We increased the number of people from county jails and installed telemedicine kiosks for people receiving treatment for substance use disorders.
According to public health consultant Anne Hayes Egan, health councils have been key partners whenever someone needs to convene members of the community to discuss health issues, but “systematically lack of funds,” he said.
Currently, the total budget for the 42 health councils statewide is just over $544,000, or $12,952 per council.
“There’s not much we can do with $12,000,” Egan said. “We need ongoing baseline funding.”
That level of funding alone is not enough to cover the costs of one part-time employee. State LawAntonio reports on shortcomings in the local health care system, devises strategies to address them, and provides advice to counties and tribes.
“This job requires a certain level of expertise, experience, competence and skill set,” says Alarcon.
task force created by lawmakers report Last summer, Congress should create a “sustained and adequate flow of funds” for local health boards.
The task force recommended developing a set of best practices for health councils, minimizing state funding, securing funding for staff training, and providing state health care, including Medicaid. It was recommended to grasp the funds controlled by the Ministry. Used by the council to get large grants.
In the next fiscal year’s budget proposal, the Legislative and Finance Committee recommended an increase in Board of Health funding of $100,000, and the Governor recommended an increase of $235,000.
But proponents argue that these modest increases are not enough.
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House Bill 49 Secure $5.25 million annually to fund 42 health councils throughout New Mexico. Each Health Council receives $125,000 annually.
The bill would also secure $500,000 for the DOH to hire nonprofits to provide training, technical assistance, and other assistance to local health boards. Help create a system for evaluating the work of the Council. Strengthen community-based health planning and self-determination.
The bill would support Rep. Anthony Allison (D-Fruitland), Rep. D. Wanda Johnson (D-Rehoboth), Rep. Elizabeth Thomson (D-Albuquerque), and Sen. Elizabeth Stefanix (D-Ceriros). Sponsored by
House Committee on Health and Human Services Approved unanimously However, on February 20, the House Appropriations and Finance Committee voted to introduce the bill, preventing it from being voted on in the House plenary session.
Commission chair Nathan Small (D-Las Cruces) said the action taken by the commission was a “temporary table”.
A state budget bill called House Bill 2 still has a way to add more funding to health boards, Small said.
“If there is a change in the Senate, we can undo this,” Small said.
He said more money could go into the budget as the two more legislative houses work to consolidate the budget bill, dubbed a “settlement,” as it passes the Senate. .
“This is one of the most difficult things on the committee,” Small told Allison on Feb. 20. It’s not that we don’t have more funds for these purposes this year. As it stands, it just means that the bill cannot pass this committee. “
Now, proponents are trying to persuade members of the Senate Finance Committee to put more money into House Bill 2, the bill that will determine the state’s budget next year, Alarcon said.
They have been trying to convince committee members for the past two weeks, Alarcon said Thursday.
She acknowledged that Senators Shea Correa Hemphill (D-Silver City), Jeff Steinborn (D-Las Cruces), Crystal Diamond (R-Elephant Butte) and Nancy Rodriguez (D-Albuquerque) “verbally endorsed HB 49.” I have expressed my support,” he said.
For a vote to pass the committee, proponents will also need to persuade two additional members to vote in favor of funding the Health Council.