State to fund health program at La Casa

Tony Parra

Tony_Parra@link.freedom.com
The Women, Infants and Children Program will be handled by the New Mexico Department of Health instead of La Casa de Buena Salud in an effort to reduce costs.
The county commission decided on the change at Tuesday’s meeting and opted not to compensate La Casa de Buena Salud for the change.
“The space (at La Casa) was designated for public health so that’s not going to change,” Roosevelt County Administrator Charlene Hardin said. “The staff will stay the same, but instead of La Casa paying (the staff), the department of health will pay them.”
Gov. Bill Richardson mandated that counties in New Mexico have the NMHD take over the WIC Program instead of privately owned companies, such as La Casa de Buena Salud, to try to have more control of the cost, Hardin noted.
“I can’t really speak to the reasons for doing it to control cost,” Tom Clark, county commissioner, said. “It was already a done deal. We had no control over that. It’s coming from the state.”
La Casa de Buena Salud Executive Director Seferino Montano was looking for some type of compensation for the loss of profit.
“I believe he wanted compensation for the space,” Clark said. “The county owns the building so there’s not going to be any compensation. It’s designated for public health.”
The NMDH notified Hardin that the changes needed to be explained to La Casa and the commission by Friday.
The WIC program is a program of the Nutrition Bureau of the Public Health Division of the NMDH. WIC provides services through 62 public and contracted health offices throughout New Mexico. WIC provides supplemental foods and nutrition education at no cost for women, infants and children and it serves approximately 51,000 people a month in New Mexico, according to the NMDH Web site.

Other topics discussed in the commission meeting:
— The commission voted to make improvements on Roosevelt Road O, a dirt road 6.5 miles southeast of Portales used by employees at two local dairies, Back 9 Dairy and Caseland Dairy.
“We’ll do anything we can to fix the roads,” Doug Hubby, Back 9 Dairy manager, said. “If we have any caliche, we’ll provide it.”
Dairy employees and residents voiced their concern over potholes and the narrowing of the road due to weather and extended use.
“If we have to, we’ll go to the senators and lobby for the improvements,” Art Schaap, Back 9 Dairy employee, said. “There are 1-foot deep potholes on the road. It is dangerous and it is tearing up our equipment. We just need it fixed before the winter.”
Roosevelt County Road Superintendent Jackie Grimes explained to the attendants that they have many assignments from jobs that were set up a year ago, but that he will try to fix and patch the holes with caliche if necessary. No timetable for repairs has been set.

— The commission unanimously approved a change in the calling provider to save money for the families of inmates at the Roosevelt County Detention Center. RCDC assistant administrator Ben Martinez said the cost of a local call will be reduced from $5.25 to $1.25.
The current service provider is Inmate Communications and the new telephone service provider will be T-Netix, Inc., should be in place within a month.
Martinez also said the new telephone company will provide the detention center with four new computerized booking systems at no cost to the county.