Members of the University of New Mexico’s Board of Regents have been tasked with coming up with a plan for the creation of a center that would be devoted to the care and treatment of patients with Parkinson’s disease.
A memorial, which is a legislative tool used by lawmakers usually in response to a petition, first cleared the House Health and Human Services Committee, which noted that while there are over 9,000 people in New Mexico with Parkinson’s, the state has no specialized treatment facilities.
The legislation sponsored by Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino stated that there are “access disparities for movement disorders care” in New Mexico, with a minority of patients who can afford it traveling to treatment centers located in Arizona and Colorado.
But, the memorial continued, “the average movement disorder patient does not have the ability to obtain care out of state.”
House Memorial 8, which has now passed both the full House and Senate, calls upon the University of New Mexico’s Regents to lay out a blueprint for how such a treatment facility could be created at the school.
The regents are being particularly asked to create a plan because of the existence of the University of New Mexico Hospital at the school’s main Albuquerque campus. Other similar centers nationally rely upon the services of a teaching hospital.
Such a center at UNM would not only offer movement disorders treatment, but could provide training for students pursuing that specialization.
It is not yet known whether a proposed movement disorders treatment center at UNM would require the construction of a separate facility, or will be integrated into an existing facility.
Legislators have set a deadline of November 1 for the regents to deliver the plan.
By Garry Boulard
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