UNM Health Sciences Center and UNM Hospital are proud to participate in the historic parternship that has created NuseAdvice New Mexico , making the state the first in the nation where every resident - regardless of whether they have medical insurance - now has access to a nurse advice line, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

NurseAdvice New Mexico uses nationally recognized telephone triage protocols and guidelines to help people decide whether or not they should see a physician. Nurses also help people to find a primary care provider if they do not have one. Research has shown that expensive ER visits decrease once people are enrolled into a primary care network while the quality of healthcare rises.

"With NurseAdvice New Mexico , we have become the first state in the nation where every state resident has access to a nurse advice line, 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said New Mexico Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish. "Both for-profit and not- for profit healthcare organizations have seen the value of banding together to participate in this enterprise. Bringing together heir backgrounds and unique viewpoints has resulted in the tumbling down of historical barriers to healthcare access throughout the state."

Some 549 telephone calls were logged from across the state within the first week of the service becoming active.

"We are honored to have been a partner in the creation of NurseAdvice New Mexico ," said Art Kaufman, M.D., chair of the UNM Health Sciences Center Department of Family and Community Medicine, who also serves as board president of the Coordinated Systems of Care Community Access Program (CSC-CAP.)

"We know, first hand, how many people end up in the ER because they have no primary care physician and have no where else to go when illness strikes a family. We believe this project will improve access across the state," said Steve McKernan, CEO for UNM Hospital .

The service is also building better medical care through assigning insured and uninsured patients to a primary care home, said Michelle Lujan-Grisham, Secretary for the New Mexico Department of Health.

"For many without insurance, the service also provides a way for them to cut red tape toward finding a Primary Care Physician," said Lujan-Grisham.

Cheryl A. Lopez, RN, MBA, Executive Director of NurseAdvice New Mexico , added, "Our nurses are a resource. By bringing these jobs back into the state and having nurses who are familiar with their community, we know our callers receive accurate and timely resource information. The caller is able to receive the right advice, at the right time, to the right level of care."

The New Mexico Department of Health funded the start up of the program with a $500,000 grant to Coordinated Systems of Care Community Access Program of New Mexico (CSC CAP-NM) - the first of its kind in the nation. The public-private collaboration of the major Salud! healthcare systems of New Mexico, includes the UNM Family and Community Medicine Department within the UNM School of Medicine, New Mexico Department of Health, and New Mexico HSD/Medicaid program as well as Presbyterian Health Services, New Mexico Hospital and Health Systems Association, Lovelace Sandia Healthcare System, the Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners and the New Mexico Primary Care Association.