We, the providers of Women’s Specialists of New Mexico, are a combination of doctors, midwives, nurse practitioners and physician assistants who work together to provide women’s health care to the women of New Mexico.
Our practice was founded in 1974 and next year we hope to celebrate our 50th anniversary. We saw about 88,000 patients last year and employ over 100 people. We take a variety of payers, allowing our patients to stay with our practice regardless of changes in their insurance.
As a practice, we pride ourselves on providing the best care we can in a personalized, evidence-based manner. We are proud of the fact that we have an excellent reputation for quality care with health care providers and patients. We worry, however, that the health care environment here in New Mexico may prevent us from celebrating our 50th anniversary.
As a well-established practice we have providers with a variety of ages. As the older providers retire, we, like all the health care practices in the state, need to recruit new, young providers. We seek to bring new providers to New Mexico but ranking 37th on a list of the best places to practice hinders us. It is especially difficult when our three border states rank higher.
Many factors contribute to this low ranking. The lack of providers is a major one. We work very hard to take care of our patients. When someone has a problem that we cannot or do not know how to treat we refer them to another provider. Since there are not enough providers we cannot get our patients cared for in a timely fashion.
This makes us sad, angry and frustrated. This inability to care for patients leads to burnout which in turn causes providers to leave the state or stop practicing. Another major factor in this state is the cost of malpractice insurance. In New Mexico an OB-GYN physician can expect to pay $100,000 a year. In Arizona, Texas and Colorado they pay $50,000 to 60,000 for the same coverage.
In 2021 the state Legislature made changes that make an already difficult health care environment even worse for providers. They raised the malpractice caps, which has the result of raising the cost of malpractice insurance. Medical practices cannot find an insurance company willing to insure them.
They also grouped independently-owned surgery centers, like the ones belonging to Southwest Gastroenterology, Eye Associates of New Mexico, and the one being built by X-Ray Associates of New Mexico, in with hospital-owned surgery centers. This change will have the effect of closing some of our most referred-to practices. Patients with pelvic pain often have digestive issues rather than gynecologic issues and Southwest GI cares for many of those patients. The surgery center being built by XRANM will be dedicated to breast surgery and taking care of women with breast cancer. Both offices help our patients get the care they need.
We love the people of New Mexico and want to continue caring for them to the best of our ability. We ask that you help us by reaching out to your state legislators and tell them that recent legislation will drive providers out of our already underserved state. Help us help New Mexico.