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      Report: N.M. faces medical access difficulties

      SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A legislative audit report says New Mexicans could face trouble and delays in trying to see a doctor or other providers as demand grows for medical services from an aging population and expanded insurance coverage under a federal health care law.

      A report released Wednesday by the Legislative Finance Committee said New Mexico has a shortage of health care professionals, potentially needing 2,000 physicians and 3,000 registered nurses.

      Auditors said the state needs to take steps to expand numbers of health care providers, including physician assistants and nurse practitioners who can help ease a shortage of physicians in the state.

      The report estimated that up to 172,000 uninsured New Mexicans will receive medical coverage next year either through an expansion of Medicaid or through a state-run health insurance exchange

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