New Mexico health care leaders plead for help to address nurse shortage

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Health care leaders in New Mexico are again asking the federal government for help.

Officials say they are facing a crisis and the problems are not getting better. There are not enough workers – especially nurses – and they need help from Congress.

At an event Wednesday, Sen. Ben Ray Luján and officials representing hospital systems and the New Mexico Nurses Association met to discuss expanding the health care workforce.

They say New Mexico needs more than 5,000 nurses to meet national standards.

On top of that, they want help to increase pay and boost efforts to keep workers from quitting. That also includes workplace safety.

Sen. Luján says his committee in Congress has already passed some tuition help, and he will continue to push for bills on the specifics that were mentioned Wednesday.

Another major topic was getting more people to pursue degrees in health care. Leaders say Congress can give more funding for tuition and for paying educators.

They also said the state needs to keep the young minds we educate. This is the concept called “brain drain” – they discussed how Congress and other elected leaders can help keep talent in New Mexico, instead of watching them leave.