Wednesday, December 8, 2010

State Planning Ahead

Although state health insurance exchanges are not required to be operational until 2014, work is already underway in a number of states to conduct the necessary market research and planning needed for state projects. New Mexico is actively planning for their state insurance exchange through the Human Services Department (HSD).

On November 19th, a Request for Applications was issued with a deadline of November 29th. The state’s plan is to obtain professional services to design data gathering methods and to collect, analyze, and report on New Mexico’s individual and small group health insurance market. This information needs to include a study of plan design and benefit packages, payment models, and purchase plans to help in the development of the exchange.

Applicants for the funding must have experience working with the states’ individual and small group insurance market and must be able to:

• Develop a work plan and timeline for completing all of the tasks
• Design a data collection methodology and tools
• Collect data via surveys, database mining, focus groups, and through interviews
• Provide monthly reports and met with the Office of Health Care Reform staff and project manager to review progress
• Work with other contractors in gathering data and share best practices and resource material
• Design and develop materials appropriate for the healthcare provider stakeholder population to educate them on the exchange
• Provide a final report

Also on November 19th, the New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD) released an RFA soliciting applications to provide similar professional planning services geared to individuals with mental illnesses or substance use disorders.

Potential contractors are to consult with healthcare providers including but not limited to those with experience in prevention, primary care, specialty care, acute care, dental, long-term care, behavioral health, women’s health, traditional Native American healing practices, and alternative medicine.

The state is also developing their Draft Strategic Plan “Positioning Behavioral Health for Health Care Reform: A Framework for Action FY11-FY14” produced by the New Mexico Behavioral Health Collaborative.

The goal is to use and expand behavioral telehealth services starting with psychiatric services in FY11, other clinical services in FY12, and non-clinical services in FY13. The plan also supports telehealth infrastructure in school-based health centers, addresses workforce issues, and seeks to improve recruitment and retention efforts in rural, frontier, and tribal communities by using telehealth.

For more information on the RFAs, email Emily Kaltenbach at Go to to download the Draft Strategic Plan or email Letty Rutledge at