Many of us have experienced the difficulty of finding a physician in this town, as physicians who have been part of our community for years begin to retire. We are left with the option of driving to Albuquerque or Lubbock to find a doctor. While our healthcare recruiting teams work diligently to attract physicians to Roswell, our local physicians are becoming burned out trying to service the heavy patient loads created by our provider shortage.
Physician recruiting not only plagues our community, it has become a state and national issue as well due to growing physician shortages. Hold on to your hats, because the national physician shortage is only projected to increase in the years to come. Physicians are now becoming a commodity; Roswell will need to consider becoming more competitive in attracting the providers our area needs to keep the residents of Roswell healthy.
During the meeting, local healthcare recruiters noted that getting physicians interested in coming to Roswell and through the state licensing process is only the beginning of the battle. Once they have providers on board and licensed to provide service in Roswell, credentialing becomes the next battle. Providers are required to pass credentialing for each of the insurance carriers providing services in the hiring healthcare facility. Bringing the total credentialing process to a six (6)-month time frame, if not longer. Credentialing is required by the state of New Mexico to ensure the safety of patients. In 2015, the New Mexico Legislature voted to add a new section to the Insurance Code in the New Mexico Statutes to include a 45-day provider credentialing deadline in an attempt to give the legislation some teeth. However, the issue does not lie in the requirement itself, it lies in the lack of feedback from New Mexican citizens. This lack of feedback hampers the New Mexico Office of Superintendent of Insurance (OSI) to enforce the 45-day credentialing law on insurance carriers.
The OSI public relations department said they anticipate releasing revised network adequacy regulations in the next 30 days, with an open-comment period of 60 days following release. The new regulations will be aimed at alleviating some of the hurdles regarding consumer access to care and provider credentialing. 2010 census data suggests that Roswell has the appropriate number of providers for our population, without feedback the OSI will continue to assume that our local healthcare needs are being met. OSI has a process that uses statistical data and consumer feedback to pinpoint where the healthcare issues lie in the state; feedback from patients and providers will give OSI an understanding on how the credentialing issues are preventing this community from providing access to care to its citizens.
If you have experienced issues with obtaining a provider in Roswell, please consider providing feedback to OSI. Go to the OSI main website: www.osi.state.nm.us and click on “File a Complaint” at the top menu and select an issue. Remember, ‘the squeaky wheel always gets the grease.’
We, as a community, need to start speaking up, by providing feedback to OSI and supporting the Roswell Healthcare Solutions Group in their endeavor to ensure that our area provides great healthcare to its citizens. Excellent healthcare is not only what the citizens of Roswell deserve, it also has the ability to attract an economic business environment that will benefit all of us.