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Lovelace Senior Health Plan member Reymundo Horacitas said he did not particularly like having to change his primary care physician when that doctor left Lovelace’s network of providers last month.

But Horacitas said it wasn’t as difficult as he had expected, and now he wants to publically show support for what he calls his “Lovelace family.”

“I had heart surgery five years ago,” said the 75-year-old Horacitas, who also works for the YMCA and helps seniors design and maintain fitness plans. “Lovelace has been there for me for 37 years. When I had to get a new doctor, it really wasn’t as hard as I thought. Change doesn’t have to be hard.”

Last month, Lovelace Health System suffered a blow when ABQ Health Partners terminated its contract with the health plan, taking its 184 physicians out of Lovelace’s network.

Since then, however, Lovelace has received support, not only from members such as Horacitas, but also from physicians who have either been in the network or who are newly affiliated with it. On October 18, a group of physicians called a news conference to voice support for the health plan.

Dr. Robert Federici of the New Mexico Heart Institute said he and many other physicians, surgeons and specialists are “proud to be part of Lovelace’s network of providers."

He was joined at the news conference by long-time family physician Philip Briggs of Albuquerque Family Health Care, which he said has been able to grow to provide service to more of Lovelace Health Plan’s members.

“Lovelace focuses on access to its members, and that is right in line with what we at Albuquerque Family Health Care are all about,” Briggs said. Albuquerque Health Care provides medical care in Albuquerque and Sante Fe and offers weekend and evening hours.

To see this story in print, click here.

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