Access to healthcare in New Mexico is 'drying up'

New data reveals that New Mexico is in need of nearly 10,000 healthcare workers — ranging from physicians to nurses — in order to "bring the state up to national standards," Searchlight New Mexico found.

The state is just one of many experiencing an ongoing nationwide shortage of nurses and physicians. However, unique to New Mexico is its large rural population and 50 percent of residents receiving Medicaid — two factors that consequently result in care access "drying up."

"As a result, New Mexicans typically wait months to see a doctor, travel out of state to find one or use hospital emergency rooms for non-urgent medical needs,"  Searchlight New Mexico reports.

Although other states are expected to be hit the hardest by the ongoing healthcare workforce shortage, New Mexico's rural population and aging healthcare workforce continue to present unique challenges.

"The dilemma isn't just about recruiting new providers. It's about keeping the ones who are still here," Searchlight New Mexico reports. "Between 2017 and 2021, the state lost 711 primary care providers, reducing the workforce by 30 percent, according to the Committee's report last year. The state also effectively lost more OB-GYNs, psychiatrists, registered nurses, certified nurse-midwives, dentists and licensed midwives than it gained in 2021."

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