Con Alma Health Foundation has received a $200,000 grant to strengthen the health-care safety net in New Mexico and support a network of organizations to advocate for health policies and health-care reform. “As the future of health-care reform is uncertain, it is critical that we join together to strengthen our fragile health-care safety net and ensure that we continue to make progress in improving the health of the children, families and communities  so all of us have an equal opportunity to lead healthy lives,” said Dolores E. Roybal, Con Alma’s executive director. “When this project is completed, we expect to have stronger networks that can address continuing issues around health care and the health needs of all.”

The two-year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation is the next step to Con Alma’s work in assessing how the Affordable Care Act was implemented in New Mexico with a unique focus on health-equity measures in the federal law. Con Alma is pleased to partner with the New Mexico Health Equity Partnership at the Santa Fe Community Foundation on this project.

Project goals:

  1. Create an actionable agenda regarding elements of health-care reform critical to children and families in New Mexico
  2. Increase stakeholders’ ability to work together and advocate for the health rights and needs of low-income and vulnerable populations, especially children and families in NM
  3. Strengthen the health-care safety net for vulnerable children and families in NM

Con Alma released a comprehensive report last year examining the state’s progress in working on measures of health-care reform related to assuring that all children and families have a fair chance at getting insurance coverage and accessing health care and other social resources which are needed to live a healthy life. As part of that report, researchers learned that the safety net is shrinking in New Mexico, an unanticipated outcome of the ACA.

“Now it’s time to develop an actionable agenda regarding those elements of health care reform that are critical to the health of children,” Roybal said. “We will bring together people who should have a voice in this important issue. They can help guide our policy makers and other stakeholders in policies and practices that will protect the health and wellbeing of families in New Mexico.”

Click here for more information about health-care reform or to view the ACA report. Recommendations in the 2016 report include:

  • Continue to assure all children are insured regardless of race, ethnicity or citizenship status- While almost half of New Mexico’s children are covered by Medicaid; 22 percent of Native American and 9 percent of Hispanic children remain uninsured.
  • Improve accountability and transparency by collecting enrollment and health plan data by race/ethnicity, language, age, income and geography.
  • Increase enrollment into New Mexico’s Small Business Health Options Program
  • Explore opportunities for Native American tribes to purchase health coverage for members who have complex, costly health-care needs
  • Equalize payment structures so that doctors and providers working in communities receive reimbursements similar to those working in hospitals

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 includes provisions that focus on improving quality of care for racial and ethnic minorities. In New Mexico about 70 percent of children are of color, and almost a third of children live in poverty.

Project Strategies:

  • Consider key findings and recommendations from our ACA assessment report to help create an actionable agenda focusing on ACA measures critical to children and families
  • Ensure that organizations and stakeholders are involved in the process, including low-income communities, communities of color and rural communities
  • Develop and support an expanded health-reform action network designed to organize and mobilize stakeholders to advocate around a shared agenda regarding policies, services or activities impacting health care and health equity
  • Continue to identify organizations that track ACA implementation and see how we can support and add to the monitoring
  • Provide information about the project to the public, policy makers and other multi-sector stakeholders, including state departments
  • Seek feedback about project impact through reports, conferences and presentations
  • Establish a project team to provide leadership and an evaluation team to monitor and assess the impact of project activities and strategies on an ongoing basis

Project Team

Lisa Cacari Stone, Transdisciplinary Research, Equity
and Engagement Center, UNM

Nelsy Dominguez, Con Alma Health Foundation

Amy Donafrio, Con Alma Health Foundation

Abuko Estrada, NM Center on Law & Poverty

David Gaussoin, New Mexico Health Equity Partnership

Vaughan Glidden, New Mexico Health Equity Partnership

Melanie Goodman, Project Consultant

Melissa Hongkham, Con Alma Health Foundation

Jessica Jensen, New Mexico Health Equity Partnership

Erik Lujan, Health Policy Committee & AIPC

Nichole Medina Stone, Con Alma Health Foundation

Dennis McCutcheon, Con Alma Health Foundation

Terrie Rodrigues, NM Alliance of Health Councils

Dolores Roybal, Con Alma Health Foundation

Kee Straights, Nadine Tafoya & Associates

Nadine Tafoya, Nadine Tafoya & Associates

Barbara Webber, Health Action New Mexico