#2 – Top 5 Martinez blunders as we approach another legislative session
#2 – The systematic dismantling of our behavioral health providers in New Mexico
In 2013, the Human Services Department alleged that 15 behavioral health providers had overbilled Medicaid by as much as $36 million. Since then, our Attorney General has cleared all 15 organizations of any wrongdoing, and the amount that HSD claims was overbilled has shrunk to a small fraction of that original $36 million. In one case, Southwest Counseling Center was accused of overbilling $2.8 million, but the request for repayment was later reduced to a measly $484.
What resulted out of the alleged overbilling were many lawsuits, but more importantly, a suspension of Medicaid payments, disrupting mental health and addiction services for tens of thousands of New Mexicans. Also, just about all of the accused 15 providers shuttered as a result.
In that vacuum, the Governor brought in five Arizona-based companies to meet the needs of those who sought treatment from the innocent, yet now closed providers. Within a year, more than half of those providers left New Mexico, adding to the chaos and ruin that was cruel and completely unnecessary.
The Governor has yet to be held accountable for permanently damaging the lives of tens of thousands of vulnerable New Mexicans.