0612 2023 event flyer3 2

Rural healthcare is a national concern, and it is a critical concern in the Mimbres Valley of Grant County.

To address the issues and an ongoing collaboration that exists in Grant County and beyond, on Monday, June 12, at 5:30 p.m., HMS CEO Dan Otero, DBA, will address rural health challenges and screen the award-winning PBS documentary, The Providers, at HMS’s Mimbres Valley Senior Center. All residents of the Mimbres Valley community and their neighbors are welcome to attend this potentially informative event.

According to the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), a national nonprofit organization that advocates for rural healthcare equity, “obstacles faced by health care providers and patients in rural areas are vastly different from those in urban areas. Economic factors, cultural and social differences, educational shortcomings, lack of recognition by legislators and the sheer isolation of living in remote areas all conspire to create health care disparities and impede rural Americans in their struggle to lead normal, healthy lives.”
The NRHA also reports that:

  • Rural areas have more frequent occurrences of diabetes and coronary heart disease than non-rural areas.[11]
  • Accessibility: Rural residents often travel long distances to receive services, are less likely to be insured for mental health services, and less likely to recognize the illness.
  • Availability: Chronic shortages of mental health professionals exist, as mental health providers are more likely to live in urban centers.

Commentary from the National Governors Association (NGA) acknowledges that there are “systemic and structural barriers…impeding rural and tribal communities’ health, well-being and opportunity, thereby perpetuating deep-rooted inequities.” The challenges of providing equitable healthcare access to rural communities are very real and well-documented.

Residents of the Mimbres Valley can certainly attest to the above. As of this writing, residents of the Valley have one healthcare option available, one day per week, within an approximately 30-mile-or-more radius. Residents of the Lake Roberts area are significantly farther away. According to worldpopulationreview.com, the median age in Mimbres was 65.9 at the time of the 2020 census, and it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that, generally speaking, older citizens require more extensive healthcare than younger ones.

The opportunity for more equitable access to healthcare in the Valley seems to have presented itself when Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed Senate Bill 7 (Rural Health Care Delivery Fund) in April of 2023. SB 7 purports to provide “support for rural health care delivery in parts of New Mexico often underserved by available health care options.” After the bill signing, the governor’s news release, quoting Representative Gail Armstrong, states, “Access to healthcare in rural New Mexico is a major issue in sustaining our community’s quality of life…”

However, whether healthcare access improves in the Mimbres Valley is solely in the hands of Hidalgo Medical Services (HMS).

Valley residents are grateful that, after three months (December 31, 2022 – April 11, 2023) of no healthcare provision at all in the Valley due to the temporary closure of HMS’ Mimbres Valley Health Clinic, HMS granted the community one day of healthcare service per week. However, as acknowledged by all concerned, that is a temporary and inadequate solution at best. According to  Otero, DBA, the Mimbres Valley should have access to a new clinic site with daily healthcare service by the fall of 2023.

The above-mentioned resumption of service at the Mimbres Valley Health Clinic resulted from the Mimbres Valley Health Action League’s (MVHAL) efforts to collaborate with HMS and other healthcare stakeholders, including Senator Siah Correa Hemphill, the leaderships of the Center for Health Innovation and Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments, among others on improved healthcare provision in the Valley. That collaborative effort is ongoing.

For more information about the event, please email info@mvhal.org or call 575-536-9990.

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