Healthcare Commission Bill Sounds Complicated, but is Simple Way to Understand Care, Access

Value & Access Commission, All-Payers Database Will Provide Needed Data for Creating Policy in NM

Rep. Debbie Armstrong’s legislation to create a Healthcare Value & Access Commission and an All-Payers Database in New Mexico, which passed the House Health & Human Services Committee 5-2 on Wednesday, may make the eyes of non-policy-wonks glaze over, but it implements a simple plan: To gather and analyze currently uncollected data on healthcare in New Mexico to improve healthcare policy.

“HB 88 creates meaningful, systemic change to the way we track and understand healthcare in New Mexico. That is huge, but the idea and implementation are simple,” Armstrong said. “The commission will collect data on healthcare—how it’s used, what it costs, best practices—and analyze it so that policymakers and the public can better understand the healthcare needs of our state.”

Under this bill, all healthcare providers in New Mexico would provide the commission with data about the care they deliver. The data, collected with complete anonymity and aggregated to further protect privacy, would be analyzed by the commission and used to make recommendations to improve health policy.

“This is information simply doesn’t exist in one place today,” Armstrong said. “By pooling all of these data—and carefully analyzing them--we will finally know what the average cost of a procedure is, what the outcomes of a procedure are. Shining a light on how healthcare is actually provided in New Mexico will empower the public and let everyone know more about how healthcare works.”

HB 88 appropriates $2 million to fund the commission and its work in fiscal year 2020 and in future years. As such, HB 88 now goes to the House Appropriations and Finance Committee for consideration.


About Rep. Armstrong: Debbie, Chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee, is a long-time health care advocate serving her second term in the New Mexico House of Representatives. Having started her career as a physical therapist, she has worked extensively as a health care administrator, working 10 years with Presbyterian Medical Services in Santa Fe. Prior to serving as Secretary of New Mexico’s Aging and Long-Terms Services Department, she oversaw the department’s Consumer and Elder Rights Division. Debbie is the mother of three adult children. She lives in Albuquerque’s North Valley.  Follow her on Twitter @NMRepArmstrong and on Facebook, and sign up for email and text updates.

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