New Mexico Unifies Agencies Into Health Care Authority

March 6, 2024
New Mexico Health Care Authority will leverage purchasing power, partnerships and data analytics to create policies and models of comprehensive coverage

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham recently signed into law legislation that seeks to make healthcare more affordable and accessible, as well as consolidating several agencies into a single Health Care Authority.

New Mexico Senate Bill 14 finalizes the establishment of a single unified department responsible for healthcare purchasing, oversight, and policy. 

Set to launch on July 1, 2024, the New Mexico Health Care Authority is the result of merging the New Mexico Human Services Department, the State Employee Benefits team from the General Services Department, and the Developmental Disabilities Supports Division and Division of Health Improvement from the New Mexico Department of Health, and the Health Care Affordability Fund from the Office of Superintendent of Insurance.

The New Mexico Health Care Authority will leverage purchasing power, partnerships and data analytics to create policies and models of comprehensive coverage. The state said the new agency would ensure:
• Transparency and clarity about New Mexico’s health system performance.
• Oversight and accountability to measure and improve the quality of care and health outcomes.
• Cost-effectiveness and a proactive approach to managing state healthcare funds.
• Customer service through a no-wrong-door approach to healthcare and safety-net programs.
• A unified vision and strategy for healthcare services, coverage, and benefit delivery to New Mexicans

The Health Care Authority will enhance coordination in the purchasing of healthcare for the state’s 180,000 public employees with a focus on improving plan design and affordability.

“Every New Mexican deserves to have access to healthcare. Building off our efforts last year to establish the Health Care Authority, this measure will now help in streamlining the collaboration between the Department of Health and the Health Care Authority in the sharing of data, and ultimately improve health care access and affordability across the state,” said Sen. Elizabeth Stefanics, in a statement.

Lujan Grisham signed other healthcare-related bills. Senate Bill 17, the Health Care Delivery and Access Act, supports access to care in rural New Mexico by establishing a Medicaid Directed Payment Program. By leveraging hospital assessments, the program will generate $1.3 billion in federal funds for hospitals in the state. This legislation supports long-term financial stability and access to hospitals statewide.

“Nearly a third of rural hospitals in New Mexico are at risk of closure due to financial challenges,” added Sen. Stefanics. “This new opportunity allowed in federal regulation to increase Medicaid payments to hospitals is a game-changer that will give New Mexico the resources we sorely need to provide better care in New Mexico.

Senate Bill 161, Acute Care Facilities Subsidies, creates a temporary financial assistance grant program for independent rural hospitals until long-term support from SB 17 is enacted in early 2025.

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