Preventive health care is important for everyone, but it can be difficult to access for New Mexicans living in rural parts of the state. Less populated areas often have fewer health care providers. In many instances, families must travel long distances to see a doctor. Without access to reliable transportation or child care, families are more likely to skip appointments for wellness checks.
To help address barriers like these, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico (BCBSNM) is turning toward innovative solutions that bring preventive health care to families in a way that meets their unique needs.
This year, BCBSNM held the Fiesta de Salud para Familias community health fair at New Mexico Family Services in Sunland Park, a community in Doña Ana County near the borders of Texas and Chihuahua, Mexico. The event provided health screenings, community resource information and activities designed to serve the whole family.
“It’s a way to bring several services together for our community and our members,” said Dr. Wei-Ann Bay, medical director of Government Solutions and chief medical officer of the Centennial Care Medicaid program at BCBSNM.
More than 16 community organizations gave health information and/or medical screenings to approximately 200 people during the event.
The health fair provided an opportunity for community members to get the regular checkups they need, explained Sunland Park Mayor Javier Perea. “It provides hope that we can find solutions to the problems that are ailing our communities today,” he said.
BCBSNM’s Care Van® program worked with Southern New Mexico Diabetes Outreach and the Doña Ana Community College (DACC) Dental Hygiene Program to administer diabetes tests and dental screenings. Community members also received vision checks from New Mexico Lions Operation KidSight.
New Mexico State University Fit Families provided nutrition information, and Casa de Peregrinos distributed food for attendees. BCBSNM employees handed out school supplies, and a Kids’ Korner featured balloon animals and educational activities for children.
BCBSNM member Sally Frias of Las Cruces attended the event with her 7- and 10-year-old daughters, who received screenings in the Care Vans and back-to-school supplies. Frias said the health fair was helpful in connecting her with community health information and services, such as the DACC dental health clinic.
“We learned a lot about different resources,” Frias said. “It’s such a good event.”