Dear Senators Bill O’Neill and Jerry Ortiz y Pino:
We at New Mexico In Depth were a bit confused - befuddled might be a better word - at your press release yesterday. It bears the title “Media Scrutiny Finally Gives Behavioral Health Debacle the Investigation Warranted” and begins with this line:
Contrary to initial reports from the Albuquerque Police Department, no Crisis Intervention Team officers trained to de-escalate situations involving people with behavioral health issues were called to the scene of a Sandia foothills standoff that ended in the death of a camper last month at the hands of police.
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.
New Mexico’s Human Services Department says more consumers, not fewer, are receiving services since the takeover last summer of a dozen behavioral health providers accused of fraud. HSD’s response is contrary to the results of a progress report by a federal oversight agency.
The director of the state's Behavioral Health Services Division is resigning. Diana McWilliams submitted her resignation letter on Monday, Dec. 16, and her last day is tomorrow. She'll be heading back east to Philadelphia to become the chief operating officer for a nonprofit behavioral health and child welfare organization, she said.
A new federal report ranks New Mexico as the state with the highest percentage of citizens with mental illness. But the 416-page survey also reveals states in the Southwest are above average in many areas like access to mental health services.
The purpose of the Behavioral Health 2012 report is to look at where states stand in relation to national averages. The hope is for policy makers to examine areas of the mental health system that need help.