The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


Survey, community meeting invite input on health care

Barb Belknap

Your response to the survey in this month’s Signpost will help determine the demand for health care in the Placitas area. The survey is a key element in whether two local family nurse practitioners pursue their dream of providing the comfort and convenience of a new mode of health care close to home.

Ever since Judy Allen and Donna Dowell attended nursing school at the University of New Mexico to attain FNP credentials, they talked about setting up a practice in Placitas. After graduation in 1998, they both found employment elsewhere. Now they are both back in town and are serious about starting a practice that would provide residents affordable and convenient options.

A family nurse practitioner can provide care long considered the sole prerogative of medical doctors. “In addition to being fully authorized to write prescriptions, we can order tests such as CT scans, MRIs, colonoscopies, pap smears, and ultrasounds. We can also interpret these tests and make referrals to specialists. We are patient advocates and educators, as well,” explained Allen.

The expertise of FNPs is broad based and includes women’s health.

Allen has been a nurse since 1980 and has focused on nurse midwifery. She currently works in a private gynecologist’s office in Albuquerque.

Dowell has been a nurse since 1981. Her master’s degree is in community nursing. She was the school nurse for Bernalillo Public Schools from 1991 through 1996 and now works in a busy family practice in Santa Fe.

“In a bedroom community like Placitas, people have enough reasons to commute to the city. Aging populations find increasingly difficult and expensive to travel from their homes. Local health care would help to integrate the community and make it more sustaining and less fragmented,” Dowell explained.

Allen said that they will be able to handle insurance cases, but feels that in many instances a cash basis would be less expensive and more efficient. “Why not cut out the red tape and the money that goes to insurance companies, billing, and managed care?”

Allen and Dowell plan to base payment on the amount of time a patient is seen. If an office visit is needed simply for a prescription refill, a referral, or a blood-pressure check, the cost could be less than a co-payment. They have not decided on a location yet, and initially may just do home visits.

The Community Health Survey is being conducted by fourth-year nursing students at UNM who are participating in a community-assessment class. They will also be coming to Placitas to interview well-known residents. Taking the time to complete this survey could make a difference in the quality of your local health care in the future.

Click here to download a Microsoft Word form which you can fill out and return. Instructions for submitting the survey are at the bottom of the form.

Residents who are interested in discussing a health-care option within the Placitas area are invited to attend a community meeting at the Placitas Community Center on Wednesday, October 6, at 7:00 p.m. Refreshments will be served.


CURVES waives sign-up fee in Breast Cancer Awareness Month

  • Every two minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • This year more than two hundred thousand new cases of breast cancer are expected.
  • Every twelve minutes breast cancer claims the life of one woman in America.
  • Being overweight, especially after menopause, may increase the risk of cancer by as much as 60 percent.
  • However, women are not powerless against this disease:
  • Regular exercise has been proven to lower the lifetime risk of getting cancer.
  • Early detection increases the five-year survival rate to 96 percent.
  • Mammography is a low-dose X-ray examination that can detect breast cancer up to two years before it is large enough to be felt.
  • Over two million breast cancer survivors are alive in America today

CURVES, at 140 Highway 550 E., Suite C, in Bernalillo is pleased and honored to join in the effort to help prevent breast cancer by offering incentives to encourage women to take action against this disease. During the week of October 11-16, CURVES will waive the $149 sign-up service fee (see our ad on page 6 for further details) for any woman who supplies proof that she’s had a mammogram in the last twelve months. For our younger future members, proof of a physical will waive the sign-up fee.

Call CURVES at (505) 771-9339 to set up your appointment between October 11 and October 16. Mention their ad in this Signpost and provide proof of your recent mammogram or physical.


In-home health checks with telemonitoring

Manzano del Sol Good Samaritan Home Health Agency is providing a solution to those unscheduled and expensive trips to the emergency room. Utilizing an in-home telemonitoring system, they are able to check and treat patients with congestive heart failure, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic health conditions seven days a week.

Many patients in rural areas are often reluctant to travel long distances to hospitals. The HomMed monitor allows proactive and preemptive measures before a patient’s health deteriorates. “Patients are more in control of their care with the HomMed monitor,” said Daisy Haskamp, home health director at Manzano del Sol. “They can choose the time their vital signs are collected, they don’t have to travel, and the clinician will respond to them at their home.”

The HomMed Health Monitoring system is free of charge for homebound Medicare, Lovelace Senior Plan patients, and some other HMOs. The cost for private-pay individuals is $150 per month. For more information, contact Manzano del Sol Home Health Agency at 262-2311, extension 112.


Free calendar for NM girls

The New Mexico Commission on Status of Women has unveiled its Year of the New Mexico Girl Health Awareness Calendar. The colorful calendar, available free to New Mexico girls ages thirteen to eighteen, addresses critical health issues facing teenage girls. Call 841-8920 or toll free at 1-800-432-9168.




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