House GOP Representatives urge Governor to reconsider policies on hospitals during the COVID-19 crisis

Santa Fe, NM– In recent weeks, reports have arisen that hospitals in New Mexico are reducing the hours and pay of some of their employees. The move is a direct result of the Governor’s order to pause elective surgeries and restrict patient care in order to free up space for COVID-19 patients. The intentions of the executive order are well-intended to curb the spread, and prevent an overburdening of the healthcare system in the state. However, the policy is placing serious financial burdens on rural New Mexico hospitals, leading some to consider or implement fiscal policies that put hospital systems and their employees in financial risk.

“I am concerned that our hospital employees are being overlooked, despite being on the front lines of the crisis,” said Representative Rebecca Dow (R-T or C), “We are in this together and I know that opening the lines of communication will result in common sense solutions that protect and serve the health and well-being of New Mexicans.”

Several House Republicans sent a letter to Governor Lujan Grisham asking for the Department of Health to work closely with rural health providers to develop a plan of action that will allow them to serve their communities while also reducing the spread of COVID-19. This adjustment to the emergency order will allow rural hospitals to provide much needed care that has been delayed. Examples of care that is being delayed includes critical dialysis visits, cancer treatment, and physical therapy. The Republican legislators contend that collaborative efforts between rural hospitals and the Department of Health will produce a working plan that both protects and serves the best interest of New Mexico communities, especially those with already limited resources. 

“The health and safety of New Mexicans is paramount and we must collaboratively work to find solutions that are viable for our communities” said House Republican Leader Jim Townsend, “As we move forward in the crisis it is increasingly clear that a one-size fits all approach does not necessarily work for the vastly different communities in our state.”