February 15, 2023

MLG backs legislation to rename HSD

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced her support for a bill to rename the Human Services Department as the Health Care Authority Department.

The bill, SB 16, also changes HSD’s powers and duties as well as allows for transitions.

The bill’s goal is to establish “a single, unified department responsible for health care purchasing, regulation and policy,” a gubernatorial news release states.

SB 16 is sponsored by Sen. Liz Stefanics, D-Cerrillos, and Rep. Elizabeth “Liz” Thomson, D-Albuquerque.

“My priority continues to be to deliver high quality health care for New Mexicans at an affordable price,”Lujan Grisham said in the news release. “Consolidating purchasing, oversight and health care policy in one department creates an exceptional opportunity to leverage the state’s purchasing power and other policy tools to make high quality health care affordable and more accessible to all.” 

Divisions within HSD including Income Support Division and Child Support Enforcement Division would remain under the Health Care Authority Department according to the bill, if enacted.

The bill would also transfer the Health Improvement Division and Developmental Disabilities Division from the Department of Health and the State Health Benefits Division from the General Services Department to the Health Care Authority Department.

“The time has come to work on a Health Care Authority for New Mexico,” Stefanics said in the news release. “It is important to cover all New Mexicans with health care and to reduce health care costs in our state.”

A transition plan to identify further units would be redistributed either to or away from the Health Care Authority. The transition plan will also include any further statutory changes needed to bring about the transition by Nov. 1.

The bill calls for a final reorganizational report to be sent to the legislature by Jan. 1, 2024.