LAS CRUCES, N.M. — The lack of health care professionals has plagued New Mexico for quite some time and now with the expansion of Medicaid to more people, the need for qualified practitioners has become critical.
In the State of New Mexico 32 of 33 counties are considered by the federal government to have a shortage of healthcare workers.
"You're going to see there's going to be eligibility but no access," said New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez.
Martinez hopes to bolster the health care workforce by investing $1.5 million for several initiatives like loan repayment programs and also streamlining the transfer of licenses for nurses moving to New Mexico.
Governor Martinez will also look to invest $220,000 to market New Mexico in other parts of the country in hopes of attracting nurse practitioners.
Assistant Professor at New Mexico State University Dr. Gina Fullbright said the state does provide more opportunities than other places.
"Nurses and nurse practitioners are allowed to use their education and training to the full extent," Fullbright said.
New Mexico should be appealing to nurse practitioners as they are able to prescribe medications and practice in full without a supervisory doctor.
A common core curriculum already adopted for those studying to become nurses will help with the transfer of credits and as a result it will help nurses pursue degrees allowing them to become teachers.
"It's hard to recruit faculty especially qualified faculty who have the higher level degrees," Fullbright said.
She added the new initiatives are exciting and she will be keeping an eye on changes from lawmakers in Santa Fe.
"It's a win win situation and I can't imagine the legislators being against this," Martinez said.
The upcoming legislative session in January is only 30 days and because of that the governor said she is prepared to sign any emergency clauses to any bills that will help the health care workforce in New Mexico.