Updated: July 14, 2020 05:14 PM
Created: July 14, 2020 05:08 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- The governor told the Washington Post that New Mexico hospitals are treating COVID-19 patients from other states.
"So as we're picking up support to Texas, to Arizona, that means we have less available for our folks here, which means I have to do an even better job at managing COVID in New Mexico," the governor said.
The governor has said that helping out-of-state patients is not only the right thing to do, it's also federal law.
"There is no state that would look to deny care and support to any other state," the governor said during a press briefing on July 9. "It's a federal requirement you can't deny hospital care to anyone."
Officials with the Department of Health did not have an exact number of out-of-state patients New Mexico hospitals have accepted.
The New Mexico Department of Health's Full Statement:
COVID-19 patients have been transferred to Albuquerque from Arizona as needed over the course of the pandemic, but those numbers have not been large nor have they affect our ability to take care of our own. Exact numbers are best reported to you directly from the individual hospitals and air services based in both states.
Patients flown into New Mexico can range from insured to receiving federal Medicare or Medicaid funding. Any patient that’s transferred from out-of-state into New Mexico does not get added to New Mexico's case counts, but any patient from out of state does then reduce the number of available beds for our residents. There are federal laws requiring hospitals to accept patients from neighboring states. It’s also about just being a good neighbor, but COVID-19 impacts any state’s ability to do that depending on the individual capacity and capability of its hospitals. New Mexico’s ICU capacity statewide is smaller than that of Arizona and Texas. Hospitalizations among New Mexico residents, as well as case counts, have increased since the start of July.
Being able to work with other states to share resources in emergencies is very important, but it’s also important that Arizona learn to better manage the rampant spread of COVID-19 that it’s let occur there. In New Mexico, public health and executive orders we’ve issued over these months of the pandemic are not about politics; they’re about preserving life and preventing death. They’re not about controlling people, they’re about controlling the spread of this virus. New Mexicans have already proven the successful way to do that is for all of us to limit our interactions in public. That hasn’t changed. What changed is we have collectively let our guard down here and nationwide. Currently a majority of New Mexico COVID-19 cases are among those in their teens and 20s, but as we've seen, that can change quickly, and it’s been proven here as well as anywhere else that people under 50 can suffer severe symptoms and even needless death. Who could argue with wanting to prevent what’s happening there from happening here?
Hopefully, New Mexicans will practice masking and distancing, avoid large gatherings, and stay home when they can instead of going out in public to save lives - and not just of their fellow New Mexicans, but potentially their fellow Americans from a neighboring state.
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