Culture Clash | Tom Deegan

August 18, 2014 3:56 PM

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Culture Clash | Tom Deegan

Raton is the county seat of Colfax County, NM, located on the old Santa Fe Trail half a day's drive from Albuquerque, Amarillo or Denver. Raton is the kind of remote settlement that is targeted by the Affordable Care Act for outreach. Once a thriving mining town with a quarter horse track, the mines and the track are long since shuttered. The hospital in town, Miners' Colfax Medical Center, serves many on Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans, ranchers with private insurance, and a handful in town with employer coverage. Also, the many who don't qualify for any of these programs: those without coverage of any kind. New Mexico is tied with Florida for the highest rate of uninsured in the country at 21 percent of the population.

As a nurse traveler, I worked at the hospital in 2004. There would be ten or twelve of us in the small rural facility at night: a nurse and aide in maternity; a lab tech to analyze body fluids; an RN or two teamed with nurses aides; along with a unit secretary and a security guard who doubled as a t...

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