The shutdown of the 15 New Mexico mental health providers' operations and shifting of their caseloads to Arizona providers wreaked havoc on the state's ability to provide services to the mentally ill, which in turn led to increased police encounters with the mentally ill.
Democratic Legislators Want U.S. Justice Department Investigation
BY ABQ FREE PRESS STAFF
Democratic legislative leaders are calling for a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the Martinez’s administration’s shutting down of the state’s behavioral health network in 2013.
Joined by three of the 15 behavioral health providers wrongly accused of fraud, Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez and President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen and House Minority Leader Brian Egolf wrote to the New Mexico congressional delegation seeking the probe.
The New Mexico Human Services Department’s shutdown of the 15 New Mexico mental health providers’ operations and shifting of their caseloads to Arizona providers wreaked havoc on the state’s ability to provide services to the mentally ill, which in turn led to increased police encounters with the mentally ill, according to a letter from Laroque Garcia, head of the Southwest Counseling Center in Las Cruces, who is asking for the federal probe.
An investigation by Attorney General Hector Balderas found no evidence of fraud. Following the handoff of caseloads to the Arizona firms, many eventually shut down, leaving New Mexico communities with no services. In a joint statement, Egolf of Santa Fe, Papen of Las Cruces and Sanchez of Belen charge the Martinez administration wasted $28.8 million and allowed privacy violations. The state legislators made their appeal for a federal probe in a letter to New Mexico’s five congressional representatives.
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