Healthcare Task Force

Bernalillo County Healthcare Task Force FINAL Recommendations Report (November 2014)

Summary of Recommendations

Goal 1: Assure Healthcare Coverage for All County Residents

1.1.  UNMH must provide a safety net program for uninsured and low-income residents that includes comprehensive medical services, behavioral health services, and navigation support.

1.2.  Ensure that all UNMH financial assistance programs have simple rules based on County residence and financial need.

1.3.  Help County residents get healthcare coverage through the Exchange and Medicaid, including Native Americans, by assisting with both premiums and other out-of-pockets expenses, such as copays.

1.4.  Stop UNMH from pursuing collections against low-income patients.


Goal 2: Meet Native American Healthcare Obligations

2.1  Ensure that the Lease Agreement, as amended, honors the responsibilities to Native Americans as outlined in the original contract.

2.2  Define a process for Native American representation: a) during lease negotiations and b) for continued monitoring and evaluation of UNM Hospital’s compliance with its obligations to Native Americans.

2.3  Require UNMH to have written policies affirming its obligations, including its process for identifying Native Americans, billing for services, and providing priority access and culturally competent care.

2.4  Ensure that individual Native American patients are not charged for hospital services, or sent to collections, whether or not they live in the county.

2.5  Require the Native American Health Office to have adequate staff to help ensure obligations are met.


Goal 3: Increase Availability of Behavioral Health Services

3.1  Expand behavioral health funding and services through UNM Hospital.

3.2  Cover behavioral health services through the UNM Care program or its successor.

3.3  Seek to reduce incarceration and recidivism of residents by working with others to provide enhanced and freestanding crisis/triage services to community residents with mental illness and/or substance use disorders.

3.4  Require UNMH to devise and report annually to the County measures of treatment outcomes for depression, schizophrenia, and alcohol and opiate addiction.


Goal 4: Build an Integrated System of Primary Care and Navigation Support

4.1  Expand community-based outreach and navigation support in the health system through the Pathways Program and other community programs.

4.2  Require all indigent care patients currently on UNMH’s roster to be assigned a nationally recognized patient centered medical or health home.

4.3  Reduce ER utilization through a) triage programs, b) setting up expanded evening and weekend hours in safety net primary care centers, and c) navigation support to access these services instead of Emergency Departments.


Goal 5: Provide Continuity of Care for Incarcerated People

5.1  Expand oversight of medical services at MDC, to include mental health, behavioral health and substance abuse services.

5.2  Provide coordination and transition from MDC health services to community-based services— pre-release, assessment, planned re-entry, and service handoffs—for persons being released to ensure that existing health problems are not the cause of the inmate’s return to the MDC.

5.3  Work with the Courts and others to oversee operations of programs that offer treatment as an alternative to incarceration achieve effective assessment, referral, and treatment, especially for behavioral health, substance use, and chronic diseases.

5.4  Work with Probation and Parole to oversee that persons outside of incarceration have effective assessment, referral and treatment.


Goal 6: Increase County Oversight and Accountability for Mill Levy Funds

6.1  Require UNMH to provide an annual plan and budget for use of the mill levy funds, as specified by the County, that advances the County’s defined priorities.

6.2  Establish or designate an entity for the County to: 1) administer and monitor mill levy funds; 2) engage in safety net planning and evaluation; 3) contract with other providers to fill gaps and test innovative models.

6.3  Create a defined system of health planning and accountability for mill levy funds that measures health outcomes.

6.4  Establish a public participation process, including the creation of a community health board.


Task Force Appointments Made at 5/6/14 County Commission Meeting


Task Force members:

Bill Wiese, Substance Abuse Treatment Expertise

Debbie Armstrong, ACA Expertise

Jennifer Metzler, Commission District 3 (Hart Stebbins)

Lidia Regino, Indigent Health Expertise

Linda Son-Stone, Native American Health Expertise

Maria Elena Alvarez-Lok, Behavioral Health Expertise

Nandini Pillai Kuehn, Commission District 2 (de la Cruz)

Paul E. Hopkins, Commission District 4 (Talbert)

Sireesha Manne, Commission District 1 (O’Malley)

Stephen W. Forney,
Commission District 5 (Johnson)

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