Health in brief

Help out in disasters

Compiled by Staci Matlock
Posted 5/16/19

In times of emergency or disasters, there's always a critical need for volunteers to assist in providing aid to victims, families and first responders.The New Mexico Medical …

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Health in brief

Help out in disasters


Help out in disasters

In times of emergency or disasters, there's always a critical need for volunteers to assist in providing aid to victims, families and first responders.

The New Mexico Medical Reserve Corps maintains New Mexico's statewide registry of volunteer health care providers and support personnel. It is part of the Emergency Systems for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals. The group currently has over 2,100 volunteers across the New Mexico, both medical and nonmedical, and averages 6,500 volunteer hours per year that has served between 50,000 and 60,000 New Mexican's each year, according to a press release from the state Department of Health. Volunteers are provided with state liability insurance coverage during times of activation and deployment.

Recently, the reserve corps has been involved in the humanitarian mission by providing medical screening support services to migrants in New Mexico. Volunteers needed include clinical social workers; dentists; EMTs/paramedics; laboratory technologists and technicians; marriage and family therapists; medical records and health information technicians; mental health counselors; nurses; nurses aides; pharmacists; physicians; physician assistants; psychologists; radiology technologists and technicians; respiratory therapists; and veterinarians.

Registration for the New Mexico Medical Reserve Corps Serves is easy by using the online volunteer registry program through the website at

What will that hospital visit cost you?

Holy Cross Medical Center in Taos has joined hospitals across the state and around the United States to publish the amount charged for various medical procedures. The move to greater transparency in medical charges was mandated by the federal government beginning in January.

Receiving blood at the hospital has a listed price of $937 while fixing your dislocated knee costs a minimum of $825. The first hour of IV hydration costs $235 and a Smith and Nephew Implant (a joint replacement system not to be confused with a Smith and Wesson) will run you $1,850.

Understanding what many of the procedures are will still take a health professional and hospital charge staff to explain, but at least the list gives patients a starting point and helps them prepare ahead if they are going to have to cover some of the costs themselves. The list of Holy Cross medical procedure costs is easy to download from the medical center's website at

Do you need a Hep A vaccination?

New Mexico is experiencing an outbreak of Hepatitis A, a viral infection that can be prevented through good hygiene and vaccinations. Since the end of October 2018, the New Mexico Department of Health recently confirmed 103 acute hepatitis A virus infections and two related fatalities in adults ranging in age from 19-64 years in Bernalillo County. An acute case of hepatitis A infection has now also been confirmed in Santa Fe County, according to the state. The outbreak has primarily affected people who use injection and noninjection drugs and those who are homeless.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. Symptoms range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter, even in microscopic amounts, from contact with objects, food or drinks contaminated by the feces or stool of an infected person.

The risk of hepatitis A infection is associated with poor sanitation and hygiene and is primarily transmitted through close contact, including sexual contact, with an infectious person or sharing of contaminated food and drink. Hepatitis A infection typically causes fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, dark urine and yellowing of the skin and eyes, according to the health department.

"Vaccinating people at risk of exposure is the most effective tool we have to prevent the spread of hepatitis A infection during an outbreak," said New Mexico Department of Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel in a statement.

Thorough hand-washing with soap and water, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing food, plays an important role in preventing the spread of the virus.

Those at risk and their contacts should see their health care provider to obtain a hepatitis A vaccine. Individuals can also be referred to their local public health office for vaccination. For Public Health Office phone numbers and locations visit

- Compiled by Staci Matlock


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