To: Members and Friends of the NM Alliance of Health Councils
The NM Alliance of Health Councils recently submitted a letter in support of a Federal grant application by the the DOH Office of Policy and Accountability for a State Innovative Model (SIM) program, which could involve a major re-design of the state's health systems, with a greater focus on public health and "upstream" approaches. The proposal includes a request for $300,000 in funding for the health councils and $50,000 for the Alliance--both to support stakeholder engagement in the state's health system. We very much welcome this potential funding for the health councils, which we should know about in a few months.
The Alliance will continue to work with the Legislature and the Executive Branch to restore sufficient funding for each health council to hire at least a half-time coordinator. The need for this funding is critical. Expectations placed on the health councils are increasing. Statewide organizations and agencies continue to view the councils as a vital link to communities--for data-gathering, communication, and implementing public health informational campaigns and other initiatives.
The J. Paul Taylor Task Force, under its mandates from the 2013 and 2014 Legislative sessions, is recommending using the health councils as community hubs, to conduct gaps analyses and to coordinate screenings, services, and policies to strengthen early childhood health and development services. These efforts build on the health councils' demonstrated strengths in coordinating, convening, policy development, and bringing resources to communities. It is likely that the JPT Task Force will again recommend up to $900,000 in funding for the health councils.
The DOH Office of Policy and Accountability is proposing to participate in regional meetings of health council representatives over the next few months to gather input/feedback on the State Health Assessment and to obtain "snapshots" of health and health care in New Mexico communities. We recommended working wherever possible with regional Health Promotion Teams, the Alliance of Health Councils, and the Health Equity Partnership to piggyback with currently scheduled regional meetings.
Members of the Alliance Executive Committee are scheduled to meet with DOH Secretary Ward in early August to discuss these and other matters. It will be an opportunity to provide the Secretary with updates on Alliance activities and plans for the coming year, and to discuss the various initiatives for potential health council funding.
Thank you all for your vital work to improve the health of all New Mexicans.