By Christina Calloway
PNT senior writer
Eastern New Mexico University students will no longer have to be referred to Roosevelt General Hospital for medical needs that can’t be taken care of at the school’s clinic as officials finalized a deal to contract medical services from La Casa Family Health Center.
The nurse practitioner who was hired last year died shortly after the school year began in a vehicle accident. After the school had difficulties in staffing the clinic, Student Affairs Vice President Judith Haislett said she put out a bid in August to contract services in hopes of finding a sound solution.
“There were several bids and La Casa came with the winning bid and expanded services,” Haislett said.
Haislett said the cost of the annual contract with La Casa will fall under the school’s budgeted amount for the services, which is $175,000, meaning the changes won’t increase student fees. Haislett said she hopes once the deal is signed, the clinic will be operational in October.
Currently students being seen at the clinic are referred and treated at RGH. The contract will bring a certified family nurse practitioner from La Casa in Portales to staff the school’s clinic full-time and will expand medical services so that students can be treated in-house.
“La Casa is looking forward to working with Eastern New Mexico University and providing students the highest quality health care possible,” said La Casa CEO Seferino Montano.
She did, however, say that changes in national health care will require all students to be insured by the beginning of next year and La Casa employees will help students explore health care options.
“La Casa has government contracts because of their mission to serve lower-income groups,” Haislett said. “They’ll hit the ground running here, starting off with a flu shot campaign.”
ENMU Health Services employee Pam Bayes said the expansion of services will be a relief for the school and students.
“Right now they’re coming in, many with either bronchitis or strep (throat) and they can’t get treatment,” Bayes said. “We won’t have to use RGH anymore. We can do it all here.”
Montano said the contract is a first for La Casa and hopes his employees will be able to enroll students in health insurance programs and also promote and provide healthy activities on campus.