NM Delegation Applauds Grants to Expand Health Care in Rural Communities

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), along with U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) and Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.) announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded $640,000 to the New Mexico Department of Health and to El Centro Family Health to expand health care opportunities in rural communities.

The New Mexico Department of Health will use its grant to support the New Mexico Behavioral Risk Factor System (BRFSS), a telephone health survey system that collects behavioral health risk data at the state and local level to target and build health promotion activities, especially in rural, Tribal and underserved communities.

El Centro Family Health, a network of medical and behavioral care clinics across northern New Mexico, is a recipient of a Rural Health Care Coordination Network Program grant. This program supports improving access, delivery, and quality of care in rural communities.

“Access to quality health care is a fundamental pillar of our communities, yet too often rural New Mexicans find themselves without the care they need,” said Udall, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “Especially in the midst of a crippling global pandemic, access to mental health and health care services has never been more important for Tribal and rural communities—which are on the front lines of this public health crisis. I will keep fighting for funding that helps close public health disparities in New Mexico.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has further revealed public health disparities that rural communities experience when seeking a variety of health care resources and services,” said Heinrich. “I am proud to support this funding for the New Mexico Department of Health and El Centro Family Health that will strengthen health care opportunities for rural, tribal, and underserved communities. I will keep fighting for additional federal investments and work to ensure that every New Mexican has access to quality health care.”

New Mexicans shouldn’t have to drive hours to visit their health care provider – especially in the midst of a pandemic. This public health crisis has made it clear that Congress must address the health disparities that exist for rural and Tribal communities, and take tangible action to reduce these barriers and improve access,” said Luján. “As a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, I will continue fighting to improve health care for all New Mexicans.”

“No one should have to travel to a large city to meet basic health care needs, especially during a pandemic, but our state’s Native and rural families have been put at higher risk due to the lack of accessible healthcare in their communities. The grant awarded to the New Mexico Department of Health and El Centro Family Health will help New Mexicans in rural and Tribal communities access primary care and mental and behavioral health services they need to stay healthy,” said Haaland.

“COVID-19 continues to challenge families across New Mexico, heightening the need for quality health care access in all corners of our state. As I continue this work to expand access in rural communities, it’s critical we work together to find ways to support both physical and mental health,” said Torres Small. “I’m pleased to see this funding support New Mexico Department of Health and El Centro Family Health, and will continue to fight for the resources our communities need.”

A breakdown of the grants is below:

  • New Mexico Department of Health, $390,000
  • El Centro Family Health, $250,000