ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A hotline that has been providing around-the-clock medical advice in New Mexico for the last decade plans to shut down at the end of the year, citing a lack of money from insurers.
Registered nurse and NurseAdvice program director Connie Fiorenzio said the closure impacts about 41 employees, the Albuquerque Journal reported (http://bit.ly/2dIaKSF).
“We are just devastated,” she said. “We are just sick about this.”
She said a University of New Mexico medical economist found the nurse line saved insurers $4 million to $5 million annually by helping to keep thousands of cases out of emergency rooms each year.
“A lot of the advice is educational in nature — like telling a new mom how to treat a child’s fever,” said Fiorenzio.
About 20 percent of the hotline’s $2.2 million annual budget is funded by the state health department.
The nonprofit was organized in 2006 using funding from public and private sources.
The university’s employee health plan and New Mexico Health Connections are among the hotline’s current customers.
Lovelace Health System and Presbyterian Healthcare Services contracted with the hotline up until about two years ago.
No other state offers a free, 24/7 nurse help line to all residents regardless of insurance status.
NurseAdvice will answer its last calls Dec. 31.
Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com