Serving the High Plains

Two area providers receive rural healthcare grants

Two healthcare providers that operate in Quay County received funding last week from the New Mexico Rural Health Care Delivery Fund.

Sunrise Clinics, which operates a facility in Tucumcari, will use the funding to increase primary care and behavioral health services for youth.

Sunrise also operates clinics in Guadalupe, Harding, Colfax, Mora, Taos and Torrance counties.

Sunrise plans to add kiosks to each school in its region.

“Each site will have a community health worker,” Brown said. “It will be someone from the community who will be trained to interface between the machine and the patient. The Community Health Worker program is relatively new.”

Krista Mericle, a family nurse practitioner for Sunrise Clinics, said of the school clinics: “They’re portable kiosks built by CSI Health out of San Antonio, Texas.”

Mericle explained the kiosks can be used to provide real time interaction with patients, check blood pressure, blood oxygen saturation and body temperature. She said the kit has a stethoscope, a dermascope and an otoscope. The dermascope is to help a practitioner get a close look at a skin condition. The otoscope is for looking inside the ear canal.

Most physical needs can be discerned with these tools. There are exceptions, however.

“If I feel a student needs to be seen further than our clinic can provide, I can refer them to the ER, or a parent can take them to the clinic or their private provider,” Mericle said.

The kit also can be used for mental health issues.

“We have a mental health counselor at the Tucumcari clinic,” Mericle said. “The student can video chat with the clinician, or they can use a local counselor.”

The Psychiatric Care Center, based in Portales, will use its state funding to expand its behavioral health services in Quay, De Baca, Curry, Lea and Roosevelt counties.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and the New Mexico Legislature secured $80 million for the initiative during the previous session. About $18 million was awarded during the first round last week.

Grant agreements with the remaining recipients are in the final stages of approval and will be announced next month.

“Living in a rural area shouldn’t be a deciding factor for the level of health care New Mexicans receive,” the governor stated. “It is a number one priority of this administration to take whatever actions are necessary to build up and support health care providers. Taking a significant portion of the financial burden off of rural providers to expand access will have a real impact on the lives and health of New Mexicans.”

Curtis Michaels of the Guadalupe County Communicator contributed to this story.

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