Oct 7, 2014

First Choice Awarded $394,000 Grant to Expand Services

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced that $295 million in Affordable Care Act funding will go to 1,195 health center systems like First Choice across the country in a major push to reach more patients, including the newly-insured who are looking for a primary care provider for the first time.

“Hiring more staff will allow us to see more patients in a comprehensive primary care home, where patients can get preventive care so they stay out of the hospital and live healthier and more productive lives,” said Bob DeFelice, CEO of First Choice. “We are accepting new patients.”

First Choice has eight health centers in Albuquerque, Los Lunas, Belen and Edgewood, and provided care to 54,397 individuals in 2013.  The HHS funding will allow First Choice to serve over 3,000 new patients.

First Choice is one of the largest providers of integrated/comprehensive primary medical, dental and behavioral health care to underserved populations in central New Mexico. Other community health centers in the state also received funding awards to expand access; altogether, 16 New Mexico health center systems will receive $4,063,236 to hire 52 new employees and serve 16,943 new patients.

“While we serve a large percentage of uninsured patients, we are seeing the percentage of insured patients grow day-by-day,” DeFelice said, adding that First Choice is a contracted/network provider for most local insurance plans.

Every patient is offered eligibility screening assistance for Medicaid, the NM Health Insurance Exchange or other healthcare financial assistance programs, such as those that provide free cancer screening and treatment.

In addition to providing primary medical, dental and behavioral health care, First Choice provides a level of specialty care through Project ECHO, an internationally-recognized telemedicine program developed at UNM Health Sciences Center. First Choice also collaborates with numerous community programs for the benefit of patients and their families, and participates in the training of the next generations of health professionals, including family and internal medicine physicians in residency as well as nurses, medical assistants and dental assistants.

 To learn more about First Choice or to find a location, please call 505-873-7446 or visit

Our Patient-Centered Healthcare Home makes you feel welcomed and cared for by a team that:

  • Knows your health history and goals
  • Communicates effectively with you and with each other
  • Gives you appointments when you need them
  • Coordinates the complexity of labs, prescriptions, referrals and insurance

We go the extra mile to help our patients get help paying for their health care.

  • We assist with Medicaid applications
  • We help patients find insurance on the Marketplace
  • We enroll patients in special programs when they are eligible
  • We provide a discount for services based on family size and income