SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Health on Thursday announced two new public health emergency orders in response to the ongoing public health crisis in New Mexico and resulting unsustainable strain on health care providers and hospitals, one temporarily limiting non-essential surgeries and another recognizing the activation of “crisis care” standards by outlining credentialing processes for COVID-19 health care providers.

The public health orders are attached to this news release. 

The temporary limitation on non-essential surgeries is effective Dec. 11 through Jan. 4, 2021. Under the order, executed by Acting Health Secretary Billy Jimenez, all hospital acute care facilities in the state may not provide non-essential surgical procedures. Non-essential surgeries are defined in the order to include procedures that may be delayed without undue risk to the patient’s health. The order outlines criteria to be considered in distinguishing between essential and non-essential procedural needs. 

Nothing in the emergency order applies to the provision of emergency medical care or any medical actions necessary to provide for urgent or emergency medical needs; or to any surgery or procedure that would result in the worsening of a serious condition, if not performed.

The order relating to crisis care standards outlines the steps necessary for the credentialing and approval of health care providers responding to the COVID-19 health care crisis, in accordance with Executive Order 2020-83

“New Mexico’s health care providers and delivery system will continue to provide the best possible care to all patients,” said Jimenez. “New Mexico’s health care system, and everyone working within it, will continue to work toward the best possible outcome for our state. It’s so important for all of us to step up for those dedicated health care workers, to recognize the sacrifices they are making to protect our neighbors, to understand our own actions can and will make a difference. Take this crisis seriously and adopt COVID-safe behaviors in your own day-to-day life.”