New Mexico has a shortage of medical providers across most practice areas (as discussed in Part 1 of this series). So, as the 2023 legislative session gets rolling, what can be done about it?
The Rio Grande Foundation has looked high and low throughout New Mexico laws impacting medical providers and has produced a series of recommendations laid out in an extensive policy paper.
1) While forward looking in nature, HB 75 passed in 2021 and was revised later on that same year makes New Mexico’s medical malpractice much more plaintiff and attorney friendly through the increase in damage award caps is causing a great deal of concern among providers even though it will not be implemented until 2024;
2) Stop taxing medical providers via gross receipts tax. The State is one of the few states in the entire nation that levies the equivalent of a “sales” tax on certain medical services. In New Mexico’s largest city, Albuquerque, the rate of taxation is currently 7.75 percent. Rates tend to be even higher in outlying areas of New Mexico. This could be part of a broad reform or more targeted.
3) Reduce Medicaid dependency. According to the American Hospital Association, Medicaid underpaid hospitals by $24.8 billion in 2020. For Medicaid, hospitals received payment of only 88 cents for every dollar spent by hospitals caring for Medicaid patients in 2020. In 2020, 62 percent of hospitals received Medicaid payments less than cost.
4) Expand scope of practice/telemedicine.
There are several additional ideas outlined in the report along with more detailed discussion of the ideas listed above. All of it can be found here.