Winter 2016 Newsletter


Access to primary care services is at the core of most of the latest thinking around health care reform. Recently, Medicare published a request for information from the public in their attempts to measure access to services in the Medicaid population and how to certify “Qualified Health Plans” that receive public money to ensure service provision to Medicaid. Then there is MIPS and MACRA, two additional thoughts about improving services at CMS, as well as the widely used term “care Coordination,” a step further in patient support systems from the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH). Yet, despite the widely recognized shortage of primary care providers, especially primary care physicians, there is little correlation between CMS plans for providing incentives for improved patient care and management and incentives for training primary care physicians.

It should be pointed out that the ACA provides meaningful financial support of primary care organizations (Community Health Center grants in HRSA and FQHC payments under Medicare), as well as significant increases in National Health Service Corps funding of graduate education and loan repayment, however, there is little alignment between CMS innovative thinking and HRSA when it comes to increasing primary care residency training. This is not just about the number of physicians in training funded by Medicare or Medicaid. There needs to be an alignment of milestones for primary care training that takes into consideration proposed changes in payment and services in the “new” delivery system reform (DSR) environment. The focus on quality and outcomes articulated in the new proposals for payments will have a major impact on the way primary care providers will need to be trained since currently all of GME is based on fee-for-service thinking with a predominantly in-patient focus and not global or bundled payments, or ACO-type modeling which provides incentives for or sharing of cost savings.

Most payers would agree that in order to save money “upstream” in the health system, there needs to be a strong and dynamic primary care system. That community social systems also impact the potential for health and cost savings is also widely accepted and this correlates to a need to shift resources from the scientific end of the health spectrum to patient support and behavioral changes made possible by access to a wide variety of community-based services supporting improved health outcomes.
A challenge facing the Consortium is assisting our residency partners in developing these new service delivery perspectives while meeting the accreditation requirements of programs which are still heavily focused on in-patient and sub-specialty experiences. As we await the final approval of the Medicaid funding of expanded residencies in New Mexico, there is a lot of work to do collaborating amongst programs to ensure the development of a primary care workforce that is an essential participant in health care reform. And this is the work that we look forward to this coming year!


University of New Mexico Family Medicine Residency, Albuquerque

Fall has begun and so has our 2015-2016 Family Medicine Residency Program Interview Season. To date we have over 945 applicants who have applied to our program, 28 of those applicants are UNM Medical Students. We are thrilled with the number of students at UNM SOM who are choosing Family Medicine as their specialty. Family Physicians are the backbone of primary care, bolstering our resolve to provide our residents with the best education we can. We have invited 188 applicants to interview and 172 have scheduled their interviews. We are impressed by the quality of applicants and are grateful for their interest. Everyone agrees that interviewing is one of the best parts of our jobs; meeting such highly intelligent and motivated young people who wish to make a difference with their lives. They are lights of hope shinning in the recent darkness of terrible global events.

The UNM FM Clinical Competency Committee completed our week-long review of each individual resident (45 residents in total!). We used  valuations, observations, and adjunctive materials to formulate an assessment of each resident’s competency in the family medicine milestones which will be reported to the ACGME under the new requirements. Each time we complete the task, through reflection and discussion, we improve the efficiency and meaningfulness of the process. We are learning new ways to capture evaluation data through engagement with faculty evaluators and better utilization of the technologic reporting tools. We are pleased that we give attention not just to problems but also to the strengths of each individual. The summaries are provided to the residents’ advisor/mentors who can have a more meaningful discussion with the residents than may have occurred in the past.

We welcome two new residents into our Residency Program. Michelle Chungtuyco had been working with our faculty in Maternal and Child Health doing research and recently joined the department as a resident. She is a valuable asset to the program and we are fortunate to have her with us. Jodi Parugao joins us in January as a convert from the OB/GYN residency program at UNM. She is very popular and all are excited to have her in our program.


Southern New Mexico Family Medicine Residency, Las Cruces

Featured in UNM Magazine The University of New Mexico School Of Medicine featured Memorial’s Southern New Mexico Family Medicine Residency Program (SNMFMRP) in the Fall 2015 edition of their quarterly magazine. Dr. John Andazola is the Director of our Residency Program and his wife, Dr. Dolores Gomez, works with the Residency Program and the adjoining MMC Family Medicine Center. Both physicians are alumni of the UNM School of Medicine. The SNMFMRP was established at Memorial in 1996 and is a fully accredited, independent three-year family medicine residency program. “We are committed to improving the health of the community we serve and to educate physicians to be prepared to work in any environment,” stated Dr. Andazola. “Our goal is to train and retain quality physicians in southern New Mexico.” To- ate the SNMFMRP is proud to report an 84% retention rate of Resident graduates in New Mexico and the border region. Currently, the SNMFMRP is interviewing for the class of 2019 and has received more than 950 applications from medical students across the country. This goes to show that great physicians are doing extraordinary work right here in Las Cruces!


Exceptionally Thoughtful Student Gifts Residents 

image1A very special holiday gift was delivered to the physicians at our Family Medicine Residency Program by Las Cruces High student Stephanie Williams. Stephanie is a member of the HOSA Club (Health Occupation Students of America). The Club decided to deliver gifts to physicians for the holidays and Stephanie chose Memorial. She prepared and delivered three basketsone for each Resident class. The Residents’ appreciation was evident as they immediately dived into the treat baskets.


Hidalgo Medical Services Family Medicine Residency, Silver City

To health care providers at HMS, a Red Card signals just one thing: “Be sure to address this patient’s vaccination status before s/he leaves today!” The Red Cards invite a potentially life-saving conversation between an HMS staff member and patient about the preventive power of flu and pneumonia vaccines – discussions that otherwise could easily be neglected. HMS’s potentially life-saving “Red Card” strategy was born from the unexpected loss of Idalia Rodriguez, a well-liked longtime community member who’d recently died at the young age of 65 due to complications from the H1N1 flu virus. Her death came as a huge blow to her family and community.
Spurred on by this sad event, HMS applied for and received a $10,000 2014-15 Senior Immunization Grant Award from the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Foundation. Designating their project the Idalia Rodriguez Memorial Immunization Project, the four HMS resident physicians and a supporting cadre of community health workers and clinic faculty have spent the past year developing and implementing strategies to increase influenza and pneumococcal immunization rates among seniors. The Red Cards have proven to be a simple, high-impact reminder that has paid off.
Hidalgo Medical Services has improved flu vaccinations for seniors by 11.5% and pneumococcal vaccinations by an impressive 43.6% over the past influenza season. We are not stopping there. Staff will continue to use the Red Cards for future influenza seasons. A newly established Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices application for mobile devices is now in place to guide the public regarding immunizations on an ongoing basis.
The death of Idalia Rodriguez heightened awareness that preventable but dangerous illnesses can and do extract a deadly toll on patients, particularly the elderly; HMS staff are working with renewed dedication to make sure their senior patients are accurately informed about the risks and benefits of vaccinations, and that flu and pneumonia shots are available, affordable and convenient. They do this in the fervent hope that the fate of their beloved Idalia Rodriguez will never befall another patient at HMS.



Northern New Mexico Family Medicine Residency, Santa Fe

image2One of our third year Family Medicine Residents, Quynh Aynh Bui, MD, has been working with well-know cardiologist, Dr. Irwin Hoffman, along with two other community cardiologists, Michael West, MD and Christopher Cadman, MD on a scholarly paper entitled, “ECG Quiz: Paroxysmal Wide QRS Tachycardia After Pacemaker Implant”. Their paper was recently accepted for publication by the Journal of Electorcardiology. The paper explores different mechanisms of QRS tachycardia in a patient after implant, including pacemaker-mediated tachycardia, T-wave over-sensing by the atrial lead, premature atrial complexes and ventricular re-entry and erroneous identification of paced QRS by the Holter diagnostic program.
The family residency program is also working with Dr. Hoffman to create a series of ECG cases involving misinterpretations by computer diagnostic programs. The most recent case submitted to the Journal details a patient whose ECG was read as inferior wall ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) by the computer. The correct diagnosis was made as 2:1 atrial flutter and the patient appropriately received rate control medication with conversion to sinus rhythm. Consideration should be placed for alternate sequelae that could occur if the wrong diagnosis was accepted, including failure to address the atrial flutter and inappropriate treatment of STEMI.
For further details and to give the QUIZ a try, please look for the upcoming publications from the journal of Electrocardiology, or ask for more information form our program director, Dr. Luis Rigales, or from Dr. Hoffman or any of our residents.


Program Highlights


The final collaborative educational ECHO presentation was conducted on November 4 on the topic of Chronic Pain and Addiction. Aside from the regular CME credit available to providers for participating in these ECHO sessions, this particular topic was approved for 2 CME credits toward the NMMB required 5 credits on addiction medicine.
To date over 120 residents and faculty have attended the ECHO programming through participation in the 4 sessions. THANKS to all of our partners who have contributed to the success of this activity!
Consortium and ECHO staff will be reviewing opportunities for continuing collaborations. This may include individual sessions dedicated to curricula topics, faculty development and other types of interactive programming. The consortium will be reaching out to our partners to help identify the best focus for our work with ECHO, as well as to identify effective means for optimizing shared learning.


Residency programs have agreed to share best practices for Program Evaluation Committee (PEC) activities as well as processes for Clinical Competency Committees (CCC). Don’t hesitate to reach out to your colleagues for their schedules, should you like to attend one of their meetings or for information about their processes. Also, keep an eye out for updates and resource information on the NMPCTC website. The first project of the consortium is to provide a toolbox for evaluation information, documents and processes that is available to all programs. Let us know what else will be useful to you! REMEMBER the AAFP Annual Conference is scheduled for July 28-30 and the Consortium is beginning planning for the NM Family Medicine Residency attendance!

NORTHERN NM Residency Program

“Our residents’ futures are so bright,

we ALL gotta wear shades.”

NORTHERN NM Residency Program “Our residents' futures are so bright, we ALL gotta wear shades."


2015 HMS FMRP Resident Retreat

Hike up Gomez Peak in Silver City

Left to right: Dr. Magda Ramirez; Dr. Rachel Seltzer; Dr. Darrick Nelson; Dr. Lynda Labranche; Dr. Neel Patel; Dr. Alan Schumacher; Dr. Kristan Diaz-Rios; and Tiffany Howard (Resident MA).

Left to right: Dr. Magda Ramirez; Dr. Rachel Seltzer; Dr. Darrick Nelson; Dr. Lynda Labranche; Dr. Neel Patel; Dr. Alan Schumacher; Dr. Kristan Diaz-Rios; and Tiffany Howard (Resident MA).


Las Cruces Learning in Action

Las Cruces Learning in Action
If you would like us to add any of your programs to our newsletter, please contact Deborah Weiss at or Lori Ann Loera, NMPCTC Program Manager at


Updates from the NMPCTC Program Manager

Happy 2016! Hope everyone had a joyous and restful holiday season with loved ones.
During the month of January, site visits with each of our four family medicine residency program were conducted. At these
visits, the Program Coordinators and I met to discuss the programs’ challenges and strengths. The feedback will be shared with the board at the next meeting in February so that we can continue to learn how to serve our programs. Additionally, it was an opportunity for me to meet the residents and see them in action. Thank you all for warmly welcoming me to your “home.”
In the next couple of months, NMPCTC will continue working with its members, partners and community to further develop and/or expand family residency programs in New Mexico, particularly in our most rural and high need areas. Since the August 2015 Summit, the NMPCTC has met with specific communities interested including Gallup, Grants, Roswell, Lovington, and Espanola. More communities are being identified as we meet with various partners statewide.
Lastly, visit our website at to view new and updated information of our programs and the Consortium. Have a wonderful winter season!

February 19: NMPCTC Board Meeting; Albuquerque, NM.
February 20: 34th Annual Winter Refresher Seminar; Albuquerque, NM.
February 24-26: RTT Collaborative Annual Meeting; Denver, CO.
February 25-28: 2016 ACGME Annual Education Conference; National Harbor, MD.
May 14 – 17: NW Regional Primary Care Association Annual Conference; Anchorage, AK.
July 28-30: 2016 National AAFP Convention; Kansas City, MO.