New Mexico

Category Grades
49D 49D
Access to Emergency Care:
49F 50F
Quality/Patient Safety:
32C- 34D+
Medical Liability:
30D 36D-
Public Health/ Injury Prevention:
32D+ 25D+
Disaster Preparedness:
39D+ 34D

New Mexico continues to struggle with many aspects of the emergency care environment, facing high rates of fatal injuries; health care workforce shortages for specialists, primary care, and other providers; and a Medical Liability Environment that serves as a barrier to recruiting and retaining health care professionals.

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New Mexico continues to support the Quality and Patient Safety Environment with funding for quality improvement of the emergency medical services (EMS) system and destination policies that allow EMS to bypass local hospitals when necessary to transport ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), stroke, and trauma patients directly to a hospital specialty center. The state has also increased the number of emergency medicine residents per capita (from 13.7 to 15.3 per 1 million people) since the last Report Card, though this is still well below the national average.

Despite a stagnant grade in Public Health and Injury Prevention, New Mexico managed to move from 32nd to 25th place in this category. The state fared well with regard to health equity, having the lowest disparity ratio in the nation for infant mortality and the eighth lowest HIV diagnosis disparity ratio. New Mexico also has a below-average proportion of adults who binge-drink, and has passed legislation banning smoking in worksites, restaurants, and bars.

While its overall Disaster Preparedness score was poor, New Mexico has moved up five places in this category since 2009. The state has become accredited by the Emergency Management Accreditation Program, has implemented a statewide patient tracking system, and is one of six states that require training for essential hospital personnel in disaster management and response. New Mexico's medical response plans also include special needs patients, patients on dialysis, and mental health patients. The state is one of 18 that address patients dependent on psychotropic medications in their medical response plan.


New Mexico's Access to Emergency Care is ranked second worst in the nation. Financial barriers and major workforce shortages continue to threaten patient health outcomes and the quality of care available. New Mexico has extremely low per capita rates of plastic surgeons; ear, nose, and throat specialists; neurosurgeons; and registered nurses. The state also has primary care and mental health provider shortages, needing an additional 6.7 fulltime primary care providers and 2.0 fulltime mental health providers per 100,000 people to meet the needs of its population. The state ranks 47th for the proportion of adults with an unmet need for substance abuse treatment (10.5%) and next to last for the number of psychiatric care beds available (6.0 per 100,000), which represents a 72% decrease in available psychiatric care beds from 2009.

The Medical Liability Environment in New Mexico fared slightly worse than in the previous Report Card due to an increasing number of malpractice award payments per capita, a slight increase in the average malpractice award, and failure to enact additional liability reforms. The state has seen a dramatic increase in National Practitioner Databank reports, from 28.2 to 41.9 per 1,000 physicians, which may be evidence of an increasingly litigious environment.

New Mexico's Public Health and Injury Prevention infrastructure is burdened by some of the highest rates of fatal injuries in the nation. The state has the second highest rate of homicides and suicides combined (27.6 per 100,000 people) and the third highest rate of poisoning-related deaths, which include overdoses (20.9 per 100,000), and ranks among the 11 worst states for fall-related deaths, pedestrian fatalities, and traffic fatalities.


Poor Access to Emergency Care has negatively affected the quality of care in New Mexico, resulting in long ED wait times, boarding of patients in the ED, and crowding. The state must help address the worsening trends in emergency care system capacity by increasing the number of EDs, staffed inpatient beds, and psychiatric care beds available as well as improving access to substance abuse treatment. Finally, the health care workforce shortage in New Mexico threatens to worsen with full implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as demand for all types of providers will likely increase across the country.

To help address the workforce shortage and improve access to care, the state should consider medical liability reforms that would offer physicians a fair and supportive environment in which to practice. The state could work to pass apology inadmissibility laws, expert witness rules, and collateral source rule reform, as well as additional liability protections for Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Actmandated emergency care.

With regard to its Quality and Patient Safety Environment, New Mexico should encourage the implementation of computerized practitioner order entry and electronic medical records among hospitals, both of which currently fall well below the national average. The state should also continue to support an increase in the emergency medicine resident population.

Access to Emergency Care

Title 2009
Report Card
Report Card
Board-certified emergency physicians per 100,000 pop 9.1 11
Emergency physicians per 100,000 pop 13.4 14
Neurosurgeons per 100,000 pop 1.2 1.6
Orthopedists and hand surgeon specialists per 100,000 pop 8.7 9.3
Plastic surgeons per 100,000 pop 1.7 1.2
ENT specialists per 100,000 pop 2.6 2.6
Registered nurses per 100,000 pop 586.9 740.9
Percent of children able to see provider 94.7
Level I or II trauma centers per 1M pop 0.5 0.5
Percent of population within 60 minutes of Level I or II trauma center 59.9 62.3
Accredited chest pain centers per 1M pop 2 1.9
Percent of population with an unmet need for substance abuse treatment 8.8 10.5
Pediatric specialty centers per 1M pop 1.5 1.9
Medicaid fee levels for office visits as a percent of the national average 126.2 110.1
Percent change in Medicaid fees for office visits (2004-05 to 2007/2007 to 2012) 13 7.2
Percent of adults with no health insurance 24.8 22.8
Percent of adults underinsured 9.6
Percent of children with no health insurance 17.9 9.9
Percent of children underinsured 13.5
Percent of adults with Medicaid 8.4 12.7
Hospital closures in 2006/2011 1 0
Staffed inpatient beds per 100,000 pop 254.7 253.2
Hospital occupancy rate per 100 staffed beds 63.5 59
Psychiatric care beds per 100,000 pop 21.1 6
Median time from ED arrival to ED departure for admitted ED patients 312
State collects data on diversion NO NO

Disaster Preparedness

Title 2009
Report Card
Report Card
Per capita federal disaster preparedness funds $9.47 $7.75
State budget line item health care surge NO
ESF-8 plan is shared with all EMS and essential hospital personnel YES YES
Emergency physician input into the state planning process YES, YES YES
Public health and emergency physician input during an ESF-8 response YES
Drills, exercises conducted involving hospital personnel, equipment, or facilities per hospital
Accredited by the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) NO YES
Special needs patients included in medical response plan YES YES
Patients dependent on medication for chronic conditions in medical response plan NO YES
Medical response plan for supplying dialysis NO YES
Mental health patients included in medical response plan YES
Medical response plan for supplying psychotropic medications YES
Mutual aid agreements in place with behavioral health providers STATE LEVEL
State requires long-term care and nursing home facilities to have a written disaster plan YES
State able to report number of exercises involving long-term care facilities or nursing NO
Just-in-time training systems in place STATEWIDE STATEWIDE
Statewide medical communication system with one layer of redundancy YES YES
Statewide patient tracking system NO YES
Statewide real-time or near real-time syndromic surveillance system YES YES
Real-time surveillance system in place for common ED presentations YES NR
Bed surge capacity per 1M pop 215.2 176.9
ICU beds per 1M pop 216.8 226.3
Burn unit beds per 1M pop 5.1 4.8
Verified burn centers per 1M pop 0 0
Physicians registered in ESAR-VHP per 1M pop NR 15.3
Nurses registered in ESAR-VHP per 1M pop NR 68.1
Behavioral health professionals registered in ESAR-VHP per 1M pop 11.5
Strike teams or medical assistance teams YES NR
Disaster training required for essential hospital/EMS personnel NO, NO YES, NO
Percent of RNs that received emergency training 39.4 37.9

Medical Liability Environment

Title 2009
Report Card
Report Card
Lawyers per 10,000 pop 10.6 16.3
Lawyers per physician 0.4 0.7
Lawyers per emergency physician 7.8 11.7
ATRA judicial hellholes (2009 range 0 to -7/2014 range 2 to -6) -2 0
Malpractice award payments per 100,000 pop 2.7 3.1
Average malpractice award payments $255,196 $255,876
National Practitioner Databank reports per 1,000 physicians 28.2 41.9
Apology laws: Apology is inadmissible as evidence in a court of law NO
State has implemented a patient compensation fund YES YES
Number of insurers writing medical liability policies per 1,000 physicians 10.5 14.5
Average medical liability insurance premiums for primary care physicians $17,546 $13,344
Average medical liability insurance premiums for specialists $79,526 $64,827
Presence of pretrial screening panels MANDATORY MANDATORY
Pretrial screening panel's findings admissible as evidence NO NO
Periodic payments are: required, granted upon request, at court's discretion AT JUDGE'S OR COURT'S DESCRETION AT COURT'S DESCRETION
Medical liability cap on non-economic damages >$500,000 >$500,000
Additional liability protection for EMTALA-mandated emergency care NO NO
Joint and several liability abolished YES YES
Collateral Source Rule/Provides for Awards to be Offset NO
State provides for case certification NO NO
Expert witness required to be of the same specialty as the defendant NO NO
Expert witness must be licensed to practice medicine in the state NO NO

Public Health & Injury Prevention

Title 2009
Report Card
Report Card
Bicyclist fatalities per 100,000 cyclists 3.8
Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 pedestrians 9.1
Percent of traffic fatalities alcohol-related 38 34
Percent of front occupants using restraints 91.5 90.5
Child safety seat/seat belt legislation - score out of a possible 10 points 8 8
Helmet use required for all motorcylce riders NO NO
Distracted driving legislation score - out of a possible 4 points 0
Graduated drivers' licenses legislation score -out of a possible 5 points 0
Percentage of children aged 19-35 months who are immunized 76.2 80
Percentage of adults aged 65+ who rec’d an influenza vaccine in the last 12 mos 67.6 58.8
Percentage of adults aged 65+ who ever rec’d pneumococcal vaccine 64.5 69.2
Fatal occupational injuries per 1M workers 56 48.1
Homicides and suicides (non-motor vehicle)(per 100,000) 25.7 27.6
Unintentional fall-related fatal injuries (per 100,000) 14.1 13.1
Fire/burn related fatal injuries (per 100,000) 1.2 1
Rate of unintentional firearm-related fatal injuries (per 100,000) 0.5 0.3
Rate of unintentional poisoning-related deaths (per 100,000) 20.9
Total injury prevention funds per 1,000 persons $1,206.52 $464.83
Dedicated child injury prevention funding NO
Dedicate elderly injury prevention funding YES
Dedicated occupational injury prevention funding NO
Anti-smoking legislation score - score out of a possible 3 points 3
Infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births 6.1 5.6
Percentage of adults who binge drink 13.2 16.4
Percentage of adults who currently smoke 20.1 21.5
Percentage of adult population who are obese (BMI > 30.0) 22.9 26.3
Percentage of children who are obese 14.4
Cardiovascular disease disparity ratio 1.9
HIV diagnosis disparity ratio 6.6
Infant mortality disparity ratio 1.1

Quality & Patient Safety

Title 2009
Report Card
Report Card
Funding for quality improvement within the EMS system YES YES
Funded state EMS medical director YES YES
Emergency medicine residents per 1M pop 13.7 15.3
Adverse event reporting required NO NO
% of counties with Enhanced 911 capability 97 100
State has a uniform system for providing pre-arrival instructions YES NO
State uses CDC guidelines for state field triage protocols YES (2006)
State has or is working on a stroke system of care YES NO
State has triage and destination policy in place for stroke patients YES
State has or is working on a PCI network or a STEMI system of care NR YES
State has triage and destination policy in place for STEMI patients YES
State maintains statewide trauma registry YES YES
State has triage and destination policy in place for trauma patients YES
Prescription drug monitoring program score (range 0-4) 2
% of hospitals with computerized practitioner order entry 39.5 66.7
% of hospitals with electronic medical records 57.9 84.6
% of patients with AMI given PCI within 90 minutes of arrival 50 90
Median time to transfer to another facility for acute coronary intervention 72
% of patients with AMI who received aspirin within 24 hours 99
% of hospitals collecting data on race/ethnicity and primary language 40.7
% of hospitals with or planning to develop a diversity strategy or plan 31.5

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