AZ Firm Cuts Pay For NM Behavioral Health Workers

Mar 28, 2014

Credit Agave Health logo

One of the five Arizona companies that took over operations from New Mexico behavioral health providers last year is announcing salary reductions.  The company says it had to cut pay because it was losing money.

Agave is a non-profit corporation formed in New Mexico by Southwest Behavioral Health of Arizona.  Rather than imposing layoffs, CEO and President Jeff Jorde said the firm needs to cut salaries for its 350 employees by five percent, beginning next week. 

Other behavioral health firms hired by Governor Susana Martinez’s administration last year have had to lay off workers because of dwindling numbers of clients.  The shakeup of providers in the state last summer was the result of an audit that allegedly found evidence of mismanagement and fraud. 

The 15 targeted nonprofits had provided services to more than 80-percent of the state’s patients seeking help for schizophrenia, drug-addiction, and other behavioral health issues.

Agave took over operations of three of those providers, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently found 23-percent fewer clients had received services after the transition.  Agave’s CEO says his company’s client numbers have remained the same.