Friday Morning Roundup
NM Mental Health System Audit, Fix Could Hit $21M - Associated Press and The Albuquerque Journal
State officials say the potential price tag for fixing problems within New Mexico's behavioral health system could reach nearly $21 million.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that an audit of 15 providers cost around $3 million to produce. That audit alleged potential fraud and resulted this week in the halting of Medicaid payments and other funding to the 15 nonprofits.
State officials also said that if the nonprofit groups don't seek "exceptions" to keep Medicaid payments going, outside providers would be brought into New Mexico to keep mental health services going for patients. That could cost another $18 million.
The $3 million audit of the period from July 2009 through 2012 was done by the Public Consulting Group, a Boston-based management consulting firm.
2 NM Wildfires Keep Growing Amid Record Temps - Associated Press
A blustering blaze burning in southern New Mexico's Gila National Forest has swelled to 156 square miles as more than 700 firefighters work to keep up with its rapid growth.
Fire officials said late Thursday that the Silver Fire continued to advance primarily to the north and northwest, and heavy smoke is expected to remain in the area amid near record high temperatures.
The inferno is still only 20 percent contained and burning 20 miles north east of Silver City.
No new evacuations have been ordered, however, some area roads and highways remained closed.
Meanwhile, crews in northern New Mexico continued to battle Friday a nearly 16-square-mile wildfire in the Pecos Wilderness. Officials say that blaze was moving closer to the headwaters of the Pecos River.
NMFOG Appoints Executive Director - Associated Press
The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government has a new executive director.
The group's board announced Thursday the hiring of Terry Schleder. Schleder has been a health advocate and policy consultant in New Mexico since 2000, working as the field director for the New Mexico Alliance for Retired Americans since 2009. He has worked in and with the state health department since receiving his masters' in Public Health from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.
NMFOG says Schleder has a history of nonprofit leadership and "a keen understanding of the need for transparency in government having worked in it for more than 13 years."
NM Tightens Sex Offender Registration Laws - Associated Press
New Mexico has a new website where people can see information related to registered sex offenders and get real-time email notifications if an offender moves their neighborhood.
Gov. Susana Martinez unveiled the website on Thursday. She says it's the first time that the information is available to parents and the community in a single source that's consistent throughout New Mexico.
New sex offender registration requirements will go into effect Monday. The changes will tighten registration requirements and close a loophole for out-of-state sex offenders.
Previously, some sex offenders registered in another state did not have to register upon moving to New Mexico.
The changes also require sex offenders to register any names, email addresses and other monikers used on social networking sites.