Medical Advisory Team
On March 11, 2020, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham declared a Public Health Emergency in NM and invoked the All Hazards Emergency Management Act by directing all cabinets, departments and agencies to comply with the directives of the declaration and the further instructions of the Department of Health (DOH). As part of the response, the DOH launched the Medical Advisory Team (MAT), which is building a statewide delivery system to effectively manage the surge in COVID-19 cases and resources and assets as they become scarce.
The MAT consists of state officials, healthcare providers, and community members throughout NM, who are tasked with developing responding to three questions:
- How do we best use existing capacity and resources?
- How do we create more capacity and resources?
- How do we allocate capacity and resources when they become scarce?
The MAT frequently issues assessments, guidelines, and recommendations across a range of topics such as COVID-19 clinical care protocols, regional care coordination, and public health. To view click here.
Additionally, the MAT receives many questions about mask wearing and its effectiveness related to COVID-19 transmission. A summary of research can be viewed here, going back to April 2020. (A summary of commonly cited research in opposition to mask among children is available here. An additional summary of commonly cited research in opposition to mask wearing is available here). Please note COVID-19 research is evolving rapidly and not all research is included in this resource, and some studies are not yet peer-reviewed.
Additionally, please visit the CDC’s Guide to Masks for information on how to select, wear, and remove a mask.
Share your comments or questions with the MAT
The MAT relies on national standards and exisiting practices, amending them to meet the specific needs of New Mexico when appropriate. For example, the U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM) has outlined a framework for public health emergency and/or disaster response by identifying existing state, local, and federal practices, policies and protocols for Crisis Standards of Care. The IOM guidance also describes barriers to increased provider and community engagement and provides examples of existing interstate collaborations.
Supplementing the IOM’s foundational document is the New Mexico Crisis Standards of Care Plan published by the DOH. It describes the State’s approach for a Public Health Emergency response using IOM principles, establishes the MAT, and addresses ethical issues of scarcity.
To supplement the NM Plan, the MAT developed the 2020 Acute Care Medical Surge Plan for COVID-19. This document outlines the State response structure to the COVID-19 pandemic, including MAT Workgroups, regional care coordination (e.g. Hub and Spoke Model), hospital capacity considerations, and clinical care guidance. It also includes the New Mexico Triage Protocol for the Allocation of Scarce Resources Under COVID-19 Crisis Standards of Care, which describes a consistent way in which providers must triage COVID-19 patients when there are inadequate healthcare resources.
As the number of cases and hospitalizations rose in November and December, the MAT formally requested the DOH to activate Crisis Standards of Care. This request reflects healthcare providers concerns about their protections given the extraordinary demands of treating New Mexicans with and without COVID-19 during this heightened medical surge. Further, if Crisis Standards of Care are implemented, healthcare professionals will be asked to assist in additional areas outside their scope of practice and to provide support with the treatment and care of those infected with COVID-19 and to stretch limited resources beyond usual and customary practice.
On December 4, the governor signed Executive Order 2020-083, which provides for temporary facilitation of any assistance that may become necessary outside providers’ regular scope of practice and support. This Executive Order was followed by a Public Health Order on December 9, formally activating Crisis Standards of Care and establishing the credentialing and approval of COVID-19 Physicians and Advanced Practice Clinicians.