Spotlight on New Mexico
Thursday, February 5, 2015
New Mexico
Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s signature effort to lift the quality of health care in 16 diverse communities, reduce racial and ethnic disparities, and provide models for national reform. AF4Q brings together people who get care, give care, and pay for care to work together toward the shared goal of better health and health care.
Today's issue of Spotlight features the work of AF4Q's New Mexico Alliance.
Raising Awareness: Emergency Care v. Urgent Care
In 2011, the New Mexico Coalition for Healthcare Quality (NMC4HQ) launched a campaign to educate patients about whether medical situations warrant a visit to an emergency department (ED) or an outpatient care facility as part of its work leading the Aligning Forces for Quality initiative (AF4Q) in New Mexico.
The campaign, which was originally created for a New Mexico health system, included:
  • Newspaper advertisements;
  • Radio public service announcements;
  • Posters in English and Spanish for hospitals and private employers to post at their facilities; and,
  • Customizable newsletter articles and website text about the effort.
In addition to local hospital systems’ individual efforts, three systems partnered with NMC4HQ by lending their brands to be featured on posters, ads, and other materials.
From September 2011 through February 2012, NMC4HQ distributed more than 500 posters to hospitals, businesses, senior centers, community centers, libraries, schools, county and city offices, and food banks. It also purchased 715 radio spots for public service announcements, and received an additional 1,700 spots at no additional cost—more than $150,000 in free radio advertising.
After the campaign, four local hospitals shared their data and reported that non-emergency visits had dropped between 6 and 16 percent depending on the hospital, compared with the previous year—an average of 1,573 fewer non-emergency ED visits per hospital.
Engaging Employers in Changing Health Care

Businesses pay a major share of U.S. health care costs, but often make their voices heard in conversations about improving the way care is delivered. Health care leaders in New Mexico, including employers and other key stakeholders, are finding creative ways to improve the delivery system while managing overall costs. Together, these groups are developing ways to ensure that health care payments are tied to the value, not the volume, of the services delivered.

“If each employer demands standard-of-quality measures that are health outcome-based, it’s going to help our community,” said Mary Romero Hart, senior manager of health benefits and employees services at Sandia National Laboratories.

The Power of Partnership in Payment Reform Sustainability
It's not easy getting an idea, let alone a project, off the ground. It's even harder keeping it afloat. The New Mexico Alliance, and its partnerships with New Mexico's state Medicaid office, and other state leaders, provides an interesting example of how the public and private sector worked together to test an innovative payment reform model that may serve as an example to other states seeking to boost administrative efficiency.
Launching a new model of health care payment while adapting to a changing health care landscape takes time and hard work, but what made the process smoother for the New Mexico Alliance was a foundation of strong relationships with the state Medicaid office, regional health plans, providers, community leaders, and other stakeholders.
Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) signature effort to lift the overall quality of health care in targeted communities, reduce racial and ethnic disparities in health care and provide models for national reform. Alliance teams represent the people who get care, give care, and pay for care.
See the newsletter archive
Aligning Forces for Quality
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Join our group Connect with us Follow Aligning Forces for Quality on RSS Follow us Subscribe to our channel
© 2015 Aligning Forces for Quality