Health Legislation to Protect Patients, Emergency Care Workers Moves Forward

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Legislation that would improve doctors' ability to diagnose HIV early and bills that would protect health-care consumers and emergency care workers are moving through the New Mexico Legislature.

The House Health and Government Affairs Committee passed Senate Bill 270 today, which would permit HIV testing in routine medical care settings without requiring pre-test counseling. SB 270, sponsored by Sen. Phil Griego, encourages doctors to test more patients as part of routine medical care so people can be diagnosed early, when treatment is most effective. The bill now heads to House Judiciary Committee.

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House Bill 605, which provides worker's compensation benefits to volunteer health professionals who are deployed by the Department of Health to respond to public health emergencies, is headed to Senate Judiciary Committee. The Senate Public Affairs Committee passed HB 605, sponsored by Rep. John Heaton, Tuesday.

Senate Bill 399, a bill that would help the Department of Health protect health-care consumers in New Mexico when a facility consistently fails to meet state and federal standards of care, is headed to the House Appropriations and Finance Committee. The House Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 399, sponsored by Sen. John Grubesic, on Monday.

The department contracts with a qualified company to temporarily manage a health-care facility when it continuously fails to provide quality care. Senate Bill 399 would prevent the management company from being sued for debt that was incurred before the department took over.

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