SANTA FE ― The House of Representatives passed legislation to preserve access to out-of-state medical care for New Mexicans on a vote of 34 to 27. The bill, House Bill 270, is sponsored by Rep. Terry McMillan.
“The uncertainty in New Mexico’s law is jeopardizing medical care for thousands of New Mexicans who rely on out-of-state providers for treatment and services,” McMillan said. “We need this legislation to make the rules clear for out-of-state providers and to ensure that New Mexicans will continue to have access to critical medical care, especially for high-risk procedures.”
The bill would clarify New Mexico law regarding complaints filed against out-of-state medical providers. A recent court case has caused confusion among out-of-state medical providers over their legal exposure when providing treatment to New Mexico patients. Currently, it’s not clear whether New Mexico tort law applies to malpractice claims arising from medical treatment received out-of-state. As a result, out-of-state medical providers may be reluctant to treat New Mexico patients because of concerns over increased legal liability.
McMillan’s proposal would make it explicit in New Mexico law that if a resident of New Mexico obtains medical care from a provider located out-of-state, the laws of the state where care was rendered would govern any civil action against the medical provider.
32 of New Mexico’s 33 counties are located, either all or in part, in health care provider shortage areas. According to data provided by the New Mexico and Texas Departments of Health, 13 counties in the southern and eastern parts of New Mexico send 22 percent of their hospitalized patients to Texas for care.