Many clients of the providers who've had their funding frozen are considered some of the most fragile residents of the state. Gay Finlayson's son Neil was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was 20. Doctors told the family it was one of the most difficult mental health conditions to treat.
Finlayson says it's not clear whether Neil will be able to continue seeing his therapist at Hogares, one of the 15 organizations that is suspected of fraud and mismanagement and has had its Medicaid funding frozen. "Stress is hard for all of us," Finlayson explained, "and uncertainty. When you're challenged with a different kind of brain, it's just so much harder.
When Neil was diagnosed 4 years ago, Finlayson says he was told he'd be contacted by an Optum Health case manager. But he was never contacted. It wasn't until Neil enrolled at Hogares that he started to get the care that he needed including psychiatric care, assistance from a community support specialist, and sessions with a therapist.
"We've built this house of cards in New Mexico," Finlayson said, "and the only thing that keeps us able to sustain that is that we do have local providers."