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Medical malpractice bill will drive away providers

The past year has reinforced the fact New Mexicans deserve high-quality health care services that are accessible and affordable. In December, the COVID-19 pandemic magnified one of our greatest barriers to achieving that goal – while we have the space in our hospitals and clinics to deliver care, we do not have enough clinicians to provide care.

Every day, our clinicians – nurses and nurse practitioners, doctors, specialists and other skilled health care professionals – work to provide exceptional care to patients in the communities they serve. Their heroic efforts and commitment to New Mexicans over this past year have been incredibly moving. They have worked bravely around the clock to care for their sickest neighbors. We are fortunate to have such dedicated medical professionals in New Mexico, and it’s essential we keep them here at home.

The mission of making our state a destination for world-class medical talent is one reason our organizations have come together to form the New Mexico Clinician Coalition. Through this collaborative effort, we’re united in our efforts to protect health care for New Mexicans by preserving and expanding access to our most critical health care resources. First, we must retain our current health care workforce and attract more clinicians to provide accessible, essential care for every New Mexican where and when they need it.

Unfortunately, proposed changes to our state’s medical malpractice laws in House Bill 75 pose a threat to those who serve at the bedside, as well as the future we envision for all of us. These proposed changes will not only increase the overall cost of medical malpractice insurance premiums but will also have an adverse effect on our state’s ability to attract and retain the quality practitioners that our citizens deserve.

These changes would potentially drive essential health care personnel from our state and prevent them from practicing where they’re desperately needed. This could have severe long-term consequences for the access and delivery of high-quality health care across our state, especially following the financial hardship the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on our health care system.

This spring, we have an opportunity to safeguard and advance the future of health care in our state. To do that, we’re asking our state legislators to enable New Mexico clinicians — and those considering making New Mexico their home — to feel secure in their work. Our health care heroes have been there for us throughout the pandemic. It’s time for us to stand up for them.

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