February 21, 2005

Contact: Angela Heisel, 272-3651

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The UNM College of Nursing received a grant to help expand its Geriatric Education and Health Maintenance (GEHM) clinics to address the need for accessible, affordable health care for seniors.

Before receiving the $56, 642 from a special fund, created by the settlement of a 2001 lawsuit against the former St. Joseph MedicarePlus Medicare health plan, the GEHM clinic had one part-time nurse with the help of nursing students serving over 700 senior patients a year.

"The number of senior citizens in the city of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County is steadily increasing," said Kenneth Miller, professor and associate dean for research and clinical scholarship at the UNM College of Nursing. "Additional factors as to why we saw a rise in the number of patients include the limited annual income of many New Mexico seniors, the continuing influx of retirees from outside New Mexico, and the complexities of the managed care environment."

According, to the city of Albuquerque Department of Senior Affairs (DSA), as the baby boom generation ages and older generations live longer than ever, the ability of the surrounding community to meet the complex health care needs of elders will be severely challenged.

"With the extra funding, we propose to add an additional part time nurse, for a period of 2 years, thus enhancing our ability to see more seniors in a more timely fashion at already established centers," Miller said.

Currently in Bernalillo County, private health care providers serve a limited number of the existent senior population. According to the local Area Agency on Aging and the DSA, the basic health care needs of elders in this area exceed the available medical resources, based on the numbers of referrals into DSA case management and usage patterns for seniors at local meal sites and senior centers. "Community-based, not-for-profit health care providers are scarce, with resources taxed to the limit," Miller addressed. 

The UNM College of Nursing GEHM Clinics serve five locations in Albuquerque that include the Barelas Senior Center, North Valley Senior Center, Los Volcanes Senior Center, Manzano Mesa Senior Center, and Highland Senior Center.


Contact: Angela Heisel, 272-3322