Human Services Department

Public Health New Mexico
1:53 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

HSD Chief Sidonie Squier Resigns

Human Services Secretary Sidonie Squier is stepping down from her cabinet-level job in Gov. Susana Martinez's administration running one of the state's largest agencies.

Squier's resignation is effective Dec. 1.

The governor said in a statement Thursday that Squier's "leadership has been valuable and important" during a time when New Mexico expanded and overhauled its Medicaid program, which provides health care to lower income New Mexicans.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:03 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

State Backs Away From SNAP Work Requirements

Credit Sodanie Chea via Flickr CC

The Human Services Department announced it would not begin demanding more New Mexicans on food stamps meet work requirements. The rule change was slated to go into effect at the beginning of this month, but a lawsuit filed by two nonprofits threw a wrench in the works. 

The lawsuit charged HSD with not following proper procedure in alerting people to the rule change—or posting the full and correct version of the work requirement—before it was adopted.

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Public Health New Mexico
11:26 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Behavioral Health Audit Firm Didn’t Follow Normal Practice

Credit audit screen shot

A Massachusetts firm that audited 15 health organizations in New Mexico last year normally gives companies it’s scrutinizing a chance to respond before issuing official findings.

It is a common practice for auditors. Running the findings by staff gives organizations the opportunity to refute findings or address misunderstandings. It’s a way of ensuring the accuracy of an audit, among other things.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:08 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Lawsuit May Halt Food Stamp Work Requirement

Credit danielle_blue via Flicr CC

Two New Mexico nonprofits filed a lawsuit this week against the state that could halt changes to the state’s food assistance program.

The Center on Law and Poverty and the Southwest Organizing Project, along with three people who rely on food stamps, are asking for a temporary restraining order that would stop a work requirement for certain SNAP recipients that’s slated to go into effect on November 1.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:38 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Health Provider Says State Refused Evidence Refuting Audit

Credit Rubén Diaz Alonso via Flickr

A state agency citing potential Medicaid fraud refused to consider documents that could have cleared a health care provider of allegations that it had overcharged the government by as much as $4.3 million, the organization’s officials said this week. 

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Public Health New Mexico
10:29 am
Wed September 10, 2014

News Orgs Appeal Ruling That Lets Health Audit Stay Secret

New Mexico In Depth and the Las Cruces Sun-News are appealing District Judge Douglas R. Driggers' August ruling allowing the audit to remain secret.
Credit Robin Zielinski / Las Cruces Sun-News

Two news organizations are asking the N.M. Court of Appeals to overturn a ruling allowing last year’s audit of 15 health organizations to remain secret.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:36 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Faith Leaders Speak Against New SNAP Requirements

Credit lyzadanger | flickr.com | CC BY SA 2.0

The state’s Human Services Department held a hearing in Santa Fe this morning about changes that would add work requirements to the food stamps program. 

Faith leaders from around the state—along with AARP, family advocates and representatives from food banks—spoke against new requirements for SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. They emphasized that hungry people in New Mexico are already looking for work: There just aren’t jobs to be had.

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Local News
5:08 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

HSD To Hold Hearing On Work Requirements For Food Stamps

Credit Caden Crawford via Flickr / Creative Commons License

The state Human Services Department will hear public testimony Friday on proposed changes to SNAP, the state’s food assistance program.  

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Local News
10:26 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Lawsuit Argues Medicaid Evaluations Hurt Disabled

Credit jetheriot via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Family members of developmentally disabled New Mexicans suing the state say a Medicaid assessment system puts recipients of services at risk.

The Albuquerque Journal reports attorneys for eight families asked a judge Wednesday to halt a new method for evaluating recipients to determine their level of services, which can include 24-hour residential care as well as occupational and speech therapy.

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From New Mexico In Depth
5:48 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Judge Rules Health Audit Can Remain Secret

Credit Yuri Yu. Samoilov via Flickr / Creative Commons License

A state agency can continue to keep secret most of an audit it used last year to suspend funding for 15 health organizations and spark criminal investigations into potential Medicaid fraud, a judge ruled Thursday.

The ruling marks the second time in nine months that Douglas R. Driggers, a district judge in Doña Ana County, has agreed with the state’s Human Services Department (HSD) and Attorney General’s Office (AG) that protecting an ongoing criminal investigation trumps the public’s right to information.

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Public Health New Mexico
3:16 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

Hundreds Head To Santa Fe Health Care Event Ahead Of Deadline

Young Invincibles and older adults and families wait to sign up for healthcare in Santa Fe
Deborah Martinez

Midnight Monday is the deadline to sign up for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act.  Over the weekend in New Mexico people lined up to get covered, either through the insurance marketplace or Medicaid.  

From those in their 60s to young people under 26 covered under their parents’ plan, hundreds stood in the bright spring sunshine sign up under Medicaid, or with one of four insurance plans.

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Public Health New Mexico
11:41 am
Fri January 24, 2014

In New Mexico: Guilt, Fraud, Audits And Behavioral Health

On Jan. 16, the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office announced it had found “insufficient evidence to support allegations of fraud” against The Counseling Center in Alamagordo, N.M.

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Public Health New Mexico
1:12 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Behavioral Health Chief Steps Down

Diana McWilliams

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. 

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Public Health New Mexico
11:24 am
Mon December 2, 2013

The Case Of New Mexico's Altered Audit

A page from the redacted audit documents released earlier this year.

It's been almost six months since the New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD) froze Medicaid payments to mental health providers in the state due to a "credible allegation of fraud."

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Public Health New Mexico
5:05 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Secrecy Surrounds Fraud Allegations In New Mexico Mental Health Audit

Many pages of the behavioral health audit were partially or fully redacted.

In June, New Mexico’s Behavioral Health care system was thrown into chaos — the state abruptly froze Medicaid payments to more than a dozen mental health providers in the state after an audit allegedly found widespread

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Public Health New Mexico
5:44 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Partial Release Of New Mexico Mental Health Audit Raises Questions

Many pages of the behavioral health audit were partially or fully redacted.

This summer, the State of New Mexico froze Medicaid payments to mental health providers because of fraud allegations.

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Public Health New Mexico
2:35 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Service Disruptions Mark Transition Of New Mexico Behavioral Health To Arizona Hands

On June 24, New Mexico's Human Services Department announced that an audit found "credible allegations of fraud" for

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Local News
1:38 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Arizona Companies Prepare To Manage New Mexico Behavioral Health Providers

N.M. Legislative Finance Committee members listen as NMHSD Secretary Squier defended her suspension of Medicaid payments to 15 behavioral health providers.
Credit Bryant Furlow

When the New Mexico Human Services Department (NMHSD) announced last month it would suspend Medicaid payments to 15 behavioral health providers, Joe Frechen was worried.

For nearly 20 years, Frechen has worked as psychiatrist in Southern New Mexico with some of the most vulnerable patients in the region.

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