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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU Family Impact Seminar addresses Medicaid cuts' effects on children

SANTA FE, N.M. - With 500,000 New Mexicans enrolled in Medicaid programs, the combination of extreme fiscal difficulties for both state and federal budgets, and the scheduled implementation of the federal Health Reform Act in 2014, the New Mexico Legislature faces difficult decisions.

In an effort to provide non-partisan, research-based information on issues affecting families, including Medicaid services for children, New Mexico State University hosted the sixth annual New Mexico Family Impact Seminar during the legislative session. National experts spoke to state legislators and state agency staff on this year's topic, "Medicaid: What are States Doing to Control Costs? Are Children at Risk?"

"Attending the seminar has helped me understand some of the challenging policy decisions that we are facing," said Sen. Mark Boitano, (R-District 18). "There was a lot of good information presented on this topic, which has a lot of factors involved."

Presentations were made by Laura Tobler, a nationally recognized expert on state health care policy issues who is program director for the health program at the National Conference of State Legislatures; Vernon Smith, former Michigan Medicaid director currently with Health Management Associates, where he focuses on trends in the health care market place; and Carolyn Ingram, former director of New Mexico's Medicaid program and currently with the Center for Health Care Strategies, where she leads the organization's efforts to help state agencies maximize opportunities to improve care and coverage under health reform.

The New Mexico Family Impact Seminar is a service project provided by the Extension Farmily and Consumer Sciences Department in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

NMSU is one of 25 universities in the nation to offer the Family Impact Seminar program. Working with a group of legislators serving in an advisory capacity, program organizers identify topics concerning families for a series of in-depth seminars, discussion sessions and briefings.

"The Family Impact Seminar was created to better connect research and policy, and to promote a family perspective in policy making," said Charolette Collins, NMSU's coordinator of the program. "The seminars target state policymakers, including legislators, legislative aides, the governor's office staff, legislative council service staff and state agency representatives."

"Besides the presentation, we provide a briefing report and audio compact disc to each legislator for their review," Collins said. "Evaluation of the seminars has shown positive outcomes of increased knowledge and understanding of the seminar topic among the legislators, as well as use of information to develop policy."

NMSU is part of the Family Impact Seminar network coordinated by the Policy Institute for Family Impact Seminars at University of Wisconsin-Madison. The institute is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. For further information on the seminars, visit http://aces.nmsu.edu/ces/familyimpactseminar.