Governor signs bills to significantly improve health care access, affordability for New Mexicans
SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law today five healthcare-related bills that will support and strengthen the state’s healthcare workforce and make healthcare more affordable and accessible across the state.
“Today is a great day for New Mexico families, patients and providers, and this was some of the greatest progress I have seen on health care during my career,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “It’s worth noting that many of these bills passed with bipartisan and often unanimous support for legislation that fixes significant issues with the health care system and strengthens the pieces we know are working.”
Senate Bill 7, Rural Health Care Delivery, provides support for rural health care delivery in parts of New Mexico often underserved by available health care options. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Liz Stefanics, Rep. Gail Armstrong, and Rep. Marian Matthews.
Senate Bill 16, Create Health Care Authority Department, establishes a single unified department responsible for health care purchasing, regulation and policy that provides a foundation for effective management and oversight of heath care. It aligns licensing and oversight with the purchasing of health care services and improves transparency. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Liz Stefanics and Rep. Liz Thomson.
Senate Bill 51, Cost Sharing Contributions for Prescriptions, is a consumer protection bill and is the result of the Prescription Drug Taskforce who studied the increasing cost of prescription drugs. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Liz Stefanics and Rep. Liz Thomson.
Senate Bill 245, Rural Emergency Hospital Licensure, amends the Public Health Act to allow for certain rural health facilities to apply for rural emergency hospital licensure to meet federal health care reimbursement. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Liz Stefanics and Sen. Stuart Ingle.
Senate Bill 521, Medical Malpractice Changes, amends the Medical Malpractice Act to cap claims for independent healthcare facilities, such as urgent care, ambulatory surgical centers, and free-standing emergency rooms that are not hospital controlled. The bill is sponsored by Senate Majority Floor Leader Peter Wirth, Senate Minority Floor Leader Greg Baca, House Speaker Javier Martinez and House Minority Floor Leader Ryan Lane.
These bills passed with the support of their sponsors:
“I was very excited to work with the administration on health care bills this year. Bills that addressed rural health care and prescription drug pricing are immediate fixes for all New Mexicans. Planning for a Health Care Authority lets the state step into the future with the promise of health care for all. Also, importantly the bipartisan leadership and agreement on medical malpractice sends a signal that health care professionals, and outpatient health care facilities are vital to patient access,” said Sen. Stefanics.
“Senate Bill 523 is a perfect example of how progress can be made when parties work together and compromise on a divisive issue. This new law will provide stability for doctors working in outpatient facilities, and long-term care for patients who have been harmed. I want to thank Senator Baca and Governor Lujan Grisham for the work we did together to reach this critical long-term solution on medical malpractice,” said Sen. Wirth.
“I want to thank the doctors across New Mexico who voiced their concerns and lobbied their legislators during the Legislative Session. We all recognize the need for quality, accessible healthcare and sufficient protections for patients, and this bill preserves both,” said Sen. Baca. “Together, the Governor, Senator Wirth, and I were able to broker this agreement among the stakeholders, and I am grateful for their willingness to put the well-being of New Mexicans above politics.”
“This law honors the original medical malpractice compromise between patients, doctors, insurance companies, and hospitals, while ensuring providers have what they need to continue serving the people of New Mexico,” said Rep. Martinez.
“The Medical Malpractice changes were forcing local providers to close their clinics, limiting access for healthcare across our state, and the bipartisan agreement that lawmakers developed will no doubt help stop the loss of healthcare access for so many communities. SB 523 represents what lawmakers should be focused on, working together no matter the party, to do what is right for New Mexicans,” said Rep. Lane.
“Every New Mexican wants to keep their family healthy, unfortunately right now health care costs are too high for many working families. Today, we’re taking commonsense steps to bring costs down,” said Rep. Thomson. “Making sure that any prescription discounts are fairly shared with consumers will help lower out-of-pocket expenses for essential medications and creating the Health Care Authority Department will streamline the state’s ability to make sure health care is affordable and accessible throughout New Mexico.”
“Access to healthcare in rural New Mexico is a major issue in sustaining our community’s quality of life and the Rural Healthcare Delivery Fund represents a step in the right direction for so many New Mexicans,” said Rep. Armstrong. “There remains much work to be done for rural healthcare, and I am proud that our legislature worked in a bipartisan fashion and approved SB7 and important changes to medical malpractice which will have a lasting impact in delivering healthcare to even the smallest of communities in our state.”
“Too many New Mexicans from rural communities have to spend hours on the road just to access basic health care; or worse, go without it,” said Rep. Matthews. “By supporting providers who open and expand facilities in rural areas, we will improve access to local, convenient health care for everyone in our state.”