I am writing in response to the guest column “Insurance providers threaten our health,” published on March 24 in the Daily Lobo, to provide a better understanding of the collaborative decisions that were made by the University of New Mexico Hospital (UNMH) and Presbyterian Health Plan (PHP).

Last year, UNMH and PHP jointly agreed that UNMH would no longer provide primary care services for PHP members, although our members continue to have access to UNMH’s unique services and specialties. UNMH remains an essential part of our network and continues to provide critical services, including behavioral health services and trauma, burn treatment and pediatric specialties. In addition, members with complex conditions have been able to continue their care with their UNMH specialty care physicians.

This decision was not made lightly, nor put into practice overnight. Our partnership with UNMH is important to our community; however, it was necessary to make these difficult decisions as part of our commitment to providing affordable health care for New Mexicans. As a physician, I understand that selecting a new primary care provider can be a difficult decision, particularly when families develop close bonds with long-term providers. When UNMH and PHP changed our contractual relationship last year, our goal was to ease patients through the transition with as little disruption as possible and we continue to work with UNMH to do so. UNMH has shown a great commitment to working together to minimize the impact on the communities we serve.

We are closely monitoring our members’ experiences and have not received significant complaints from our members, commercial plans or advisory groups about this change. Presbyterian Health Plan is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Presbyterian Healthcare Services, a non-profit entity, and all plan profits are ultimately reinvested back into the services and facilities that we provide to the community. It is our responsibility to reduce costs whenever possible and to provide affordable access to care for our patients and members. We encourage plan members who need help with this transition to contact us at 505-923-5678 or 1-800-356-2219.

Ron Parton, MD

Chief Medical Officer,

Presbyterian Health Plan