About ACCESS Telemedicine

UNM ACCESS Telemedicine in New Mexico is a nonprofit telehealth service that connects local hospitals to neurology and neurosurgery specialists, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Through UNM ACCESS Telemedicine, hospitals without a neurologist on staff can affordably consult a neurology specialist at a moment’s notice. Our telehealth neurologists and neurosurgeons can advise on diagnosis and treatment for patients with suspected stroke, brain injury or any other neurological problem.

Why UNM ACCESS Telemedicine?

Because we’re based in Albuquerque, at the state’s only Level 1 trauma center, we understand New Mexico’s people, providers, needs and cultures. We’ve made specialty consultations affordable and accessible to local hospitals.

As one of the nation’s poorest states, resources to serve our population are at a premium. In addition, New Mexico faces many health challenges, with facilities scattered across nearly 122,000 square miles. Hospitals range from the University of New Mexico — the state’s only Level 1 trauma hospital — to Indian Health Service facilities and small, rural hospitals serving remote communities.

ACCESS Telemedicine meets the needs of all these hospitals and communities, providing essential care to our citizens.

UNM ACCESS Telemedicine in New Mexico

UNM ACCESS Telemedicine began in 2014, when UNM Health Sciences Center received a three-year, $15.1 million grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The grant funded UNM’s development and testing of a statewide telehealth network to provide consultations on a wide range of neurological issues.

Today, UNM ACCESS Telemedicine is self-sustaining. Our telehealth network operates using a not-for-profit pricing model. This structure fits the needs of both urban and rural hospitals in New Mexico. Any hospital can join. It takes about six months for a hospital to get up and running. Learn more about how UNM ACCESS Telemedicine works.

Benefits of UNM ACCESS Telemedicine

UNM ACCESS Telemedicine offers the advantages of high-level neurological care right in the local community, with:

  • On-call expertise: Hospitals gain access to a neurologist “on staff,” without the expense or logistics of employing a full-time specialist. Emergency providers can consult as needed with experts from UNM and other leading medical facilities. Learn more about UNM: neuro-emergent care leaders.
  • Advice on all types of neurological issues: Unlike other programs, UNM ACCESS Telemedicine offers consultations for the full range of neurology and neurosurgery issues. Most neurology telemedicine programs only consult on stroke or stroke rule-out. See the conditions we treat.
  • Affordable, flexible model: UNM ACCESS Telemedicine in New Mexico operates with a payment structure that suits rural and underserved hospitals. Hospitals pay for what they need. There are no subscription fees. Learn more about fees and reimbursement.
  • Appropriate, more cost-effective care: When patients don’t need in-person care at a tertiary center such as UNM, they remain at local hospitals. Treatment close to home is more comfortable for patients and families, and avoids the medical risks and financial cost of unnecessary transport. Early results show that ACCESS consultation eliminated 70 percent of unnecessary patient transfers. See more ACCESS Telemedicine results.
  • Best-practice treatment: Timely consultations with specialists can deliver real advantages to patients. Stroke patients, for example, have better odds of recovery when they quickly receive clot-busting tPA. And by having a neurosurgeon review imaging, providers can make better-informed decisions about whether a patient needs surgery.
  • Provider education: The UNM ACCESS Telemedicine program offers in-person and online training for medical staff at our partner hospitals. These educational programs equip local providers to care for patients after stroke or other neurological issues. Read more about education and training.