How New Mexico will meet Medicaid changes was one of the topics discussed by the state’s Human Services Department Cabinet Secretary Sidonie Squier during a visit to Roswell Regional Hospital, Thursday.
“Things will change,” Squier said concerning Medicaid. She estimates that in 2014 New Mexico will begin to add between 130,000 to 175,000 new Medicaid recipients because of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which is also known as Obamacare.
Even without the reform in health care, Squier said the state will have to increase Medicaid spending by 20 percent by 2019. Also, up to 16 percent of New Mexico’s total budget will be Medicaid costs by fiscal year 2012.
“Medicaid is sucking up quite a bit of money,” Squier said. “That type of growth is unsustainable.” There are steps being put into place to help the state of New Mexico meet the needs of the increasing numbers of Medicaid recipients. Known as the Medicaid Modernization Plan, Squier said these changes must be made to a system that has been static for decades.
According to the New Mexico Human Services Department website, the Medicaid Modernization Plan involves, among other goals, increasing health care to the state’s most vulnerable populations, implementing sliding scale co-payments for certain costly services, financial incentives for healthy choices, and payments based on performance targets instead of payments that are based on the number of services provided.
This was Squier’s first visit to RRH. She said the first thing she noticed about RRH is how beautiful the facility is. She also noted the friendliness of hospital staff.
Rod Schumacher, CEO and administrator of RRH, gave Squier a tour of the hospital.
“It’s a big deal having her here,” he said. “Much of what we are able to do depends on the Department of Health and Human Services.”