KUNM

Feds Asked To Review Behavioral Health Shakeup

Feb 19, 2016

New Mexico’s Democratic congressional delegation is calling for a federal investigation into the shakeup of the state’s behavioral health system.

When Governor Susana Martinez’s Human Services Department froze Medicaid payments to 15 of the state’s behavioral health providers as part of a fraud investigation, it left many people needing help for things like addiction or mental health counseling without a place to go.

Almost all of those providers have been cleared of fraud, but New Mexico’s behavioral health system still hasn’t recovered. U.S. Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham said the impacts have been severe.

“We’ve got more people in prison, more people without services, higher suicide rates, and we’re second in overdose rates in the nation. It’s outrageous,” she said.

On Friday Lujan Grisham, along with Congressman Ben Ray Lujan and Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall, sent a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell demanding an investigation and calling the disruption of behavioral health services “unwarranted and reckless.”

The letter also asks the federal government to come up with new rules to keep such a disruption from happening again.