Behavioral health clinicians have direct contact with their clients in a trusted relationship. Joe Frechen is a psychiatrist who's been treating people for drug addiction and suicide prevention for 20 years in southern New Mexico. He works on contract with many current providers and wants to continue that arrangement.
Frechen says he’s concerned that the patients he sees at clinics that have had their funding frozen won’t get what they need from out-of-state contractors hired by the Human Services Department.
“None of us have been contacted," Frechen said, "and none of the people I’ve spoken to have been contacted by these people who’d supposedly come in and manage these services. With such a complex patient population I just don’t see how it’s possible.”
Frechen said he's worried the Arizona contractors will be unfamiliar with the needs of his New Mexico clients. And he adds that if the transition doesn't go smoothly, patients who don't get their medications will suffer even more. He wants to see the most vulnerable clients identified so that their needs are prioritized.