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UNMH needs mill levy vote

It’s a nightmare scenario that could happen to any of us, at any time.

As you’re driving through the Big I, a speeding car veers out of control and smashes into yours, seriously injuring you and your loved ones. Firefighters and paramedics work furiously to cut the victims out of the mangled wreckage and prepare to transport them to emergency care.

For more than 60 years, the people of Bernalillo County have been able to rest easy knowing that in situations like this superb, life-saving care is available at University of New Mexico Hospital’s state-of-the-art Level I trauma center.

The hospital’s ability to continue providing trauma care and many other critical services will be on the line with this year’s November 8 general election. County voters are being asked to renew their support for a mill levy to support the hospital. We hope you’ll consider voting “yes.”

Proceeds from the mill levy directly support UNM Hospital’s operations and maintenance, making it possible to offer many medical and surgical services in addition to emergency care that are a tremendous boon for our county and state.

For one thing, it is accessible to all patients, regardless of their medical condition or ability to pay. And as the state’s primary teaching hospital, it plays a crucial role in educating the future health care workforce. More than 600 future doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, occupational therapists and others train there daily.

UNM Hospital also provides New Mexico’s most advanced stroke care. It recently introduced a telemedicine network that links emergency rooms throughout the state to UNM’s neurologists and neurosurgeons, who can determine whether patients should be airlifted to the hospital for life-saving treatment.

It also sponsors the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center, the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in a vast region that stretches from Dallas to Tucson to Denver. Most of the adult and virtually all of the pediatric cancer patients in the state receive cutting-edge treatment there.

UNM Hospital treats people with severe psychiatric diagnoses like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression, and it operates the state’s only 24-hour psychiatric emergency room. The program offers comprehensive behavioral health care for children, including an inpatient acute care hospital. It also runs a large substance abuse program.

And UNM Children’s Hospital provides a broad spectrum of care to New Mexico’s children, including those suffering from congenital heart abnormalities and behavioral and developmental issues, in a spacious modern facility.

UNM Hospital is only able to provide these critical services because of generous support from the people of Bernalillo County, as many of these programs are not economically viable under current reimbursement arrangements.

Over the years, the people of Bernalillo County and the doctors, staff and students at University of New Mexico Hospital have worked together to build something we can all be proud of – a nationally ranked academic medical center and teaching hospital.

A “yes” vote on November 8 will ensure that everyone in our community will continue to enjoy the peace of mind that comes with having access to this valuable resource.

Also signed by Harold Lavender, president-elect UNM Alumni Association; James B. Lewis, former State Treasurer; and Fred Mondragon, former UNM Hospital CEO.

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