ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – In an effort to improve the health and well-being of New Mexico's children, the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNM HSC) and Presbyterian Healthcare Services (Presbyterian) are partnering to pursue sustainable access to pediatric specialty care.
The partnership seeks to improve coordination of care, health outcomes and experiences for children and their families across New Mexico as well as recruitment and retention of pediatric specialists.
As part of this partnership, UNM HSC and Presbyterian are discussing the creation of a joint ambulatory pediatric specialty center that will provide clinical, diagnostic, procedural and urgent care services using the resources of both organizations.
New Mexico ranks 37th nationally in health care for children, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and too many New Mexico families must access specialty services outside the state. Through the coordinated efforts and resources of two of the state's largest health care providers, access to equitable, quality care for pediatric patients — particularly the 20 percent of New Mexico children with chronic or complex medical conditions — can improve.
"Children are our most precious and vulnerable patients," said Michael E. Richards, M.D., M.P.A., vice chancellor for clinical affairs for UNM HSC. "Having a combined pediatric specialty center will ensure that New Mexico's children receive the highest levels of care we can offer. Partnerships like this just make sense and they showcase our resolve to continue to improve health care in our communities."
"Presbyterian's collaboration with our friends and colleagues at UNM HSC is a very exciting step toward improving access to pediatric specialty care for New Mexico's children," said Jason Mitchell, M.D., chief medical officer, Presbyterian Healthcare Services. "Health care can be scary, especially for children. Our goal with this partnership is to make it easier and more comfortable for children and their families to access the great physicians at both institutions."
In addition to this partnership, UNM HSC and Presbyterian are actively participating in a Pediatric Specialty Care Task Force convened by the New Mexico Pediatric Society in accordance with a memorial introduced by Rep. Debbie Armstrong, D-Albuquerque, and passed by the 2018 Legislature. The task force aims to improve health outcomes for children, improve patient and family satisfaction with medical care and make the best use of resources available in New Mexico in a cost-effective manner.
"In New Mexico, we value family and we know that we must work together to provide the best for our children," Armstrong said. "The University of New Mexico and Presbyterian's new partnership—in conjunction with the work of the Pediatric Specialty Care Task Force—will make a difference. Increasing access to quality, coordinated pediatric care will result in healthier kids and a healthier New Mexico."
About the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center
The University of New Mexico's Health Sciences Center encompasses the School of Medicine, Colleges of Nursing, Pharmacy, and Population Health, and the UNM Health System, which ranks nationally in the top 5 percent for clinical care and has more than 1,700 unique providers. UNM Hospitals includes clinics and specialty care centers throughout the state, including UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center and University of New Mexico Hospital – the state's only Level I trauma center.
About Presbyterian Healthcare Services
Presbyterian Healthcare Services exists to improve the health of patients, members and the communities we serve. Presbyterian is a locally owned, not-for-profit health care system of eight hospitals, a statewide health plan and a multi-specialty medical group. Founded in New Mexico in 1908, it is the state's largest private employer, with more than 11,000 employees.