Public Health New Mexico

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
9:10 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Despite Progress, NM Teen Pregnancy Rate Still Tops Charts

Karla Aguirre prepares to bathe her son Harley at a parenting class
Deborah Martinez

New Mexico’s teen pregnancy rate is declining – down 41 percent between 1998 and 2011 – but the state still has the second highest rate in the nation behind Mississippi.  High poverty and high drop out rates play a big part.  But a Santa Fe high school program that’s helping teens earn their diplomas while overcoming the challenges of parenthood is making a dent in the stark statistics.

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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
3:35 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Researcher Aims To End Cycle Of Hurtful Behavior In Kids

Credit HeyPaulStudios via Flickr

New research is taking a look at how childhood trauma can alter the development of the brain, sometimes with lasting effects  that can carry into adulthood.   Dr. Elaine Bearer’s work looks at ways to stop the cycle of kids “acting out” before they grow up.

University of New Mexico Professor  Elaine Bearer’s research on mice suggests early childhood trauma might interfere with normal changes in the brains of children.   She and her team are also studying the stress a premature baby endures.

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Public Health New Mexico
10:42 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Exemption To ACA Could Leave Many Native Americans Uninsured

IHS Albuquerque Area Headquarters
Credit Indian Health Service

In June, Deleana Other Bull was laid off. She lost her insurance, and turned to the Indian Health Service for her needs.

I recently had a miscarriage, and it was very devastating for me,” said Other Bull. “Going and following up and making sure that everything is okay. It was really scary because I didn’t have insurance.”

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Public Health New Mexico
3:07 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Native Americans At Higher Risk For Flu Complications

An Educational Poster On Seasonal Flu Specifically Targeting Native Americans
Credit Centers for Disease Control

Health Departments in the Southwest are beginning to see some of the first flu cases of the season. Officials warn there are many populations at higher risk for health complications for the flu.

One high-risk group is Native Americans. However, the reason why isn’t fully understood.

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Public Health New Mexico
6:01 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Managed Care Organizations Look To Cash In On Native American Patients

State Human Service Department officials present information about the Centennial Care program to members of the Navajo Nation's Shiprock Chapter.
Credit Tristan Ahtone

Hate it or love it, the Affordable Health Care Act is set to roll out soon. And as most already know, the act requires nearly all citizens to obtain health insurance or face penalties. But some of those exempted from the mandate are Native Americans. That hasn’t deterred private insurance companies from launching a campaign in Indian Country to sign up tribal members in New Mexico.

On a cool, Saturday afternoon on the Navajo Nation a crowd of tribal members are lined up at a row of folding tables staffed by insurance company representatives that speak English.

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KUNM Call In Show
12:56 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Obamacare Goes Live: State Health Insurance Exchange Enrollment Kicks Off Oct. 1

Credit clevercupcakes via Flickr

KUNM Call In Show 9/26 8a: We've been hearing about the roll out of the Affordable Care Act for years now, but what does the full implementation of the healthcare law actually mean for New Mexicans? Who is eligible for tax credits for insurance premiums? What about people who are happy with their employer provided health insurance?

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Public Health New Mexico
4:30 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

New Mexico Poverty Rate Rises

Nationally, the poverty rate also increased between 2000 and 2012.
Credit U.S. Census Bureau

New Census data shows that poverty rates in New Mexico have increased significantly since 2000. About one fifth of the state’s population earned an income below the federal poverty line last year and more than 100,000 New Mexicans fell into poverty over the last dozen years. 

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Public Health New Mexico
4:33 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Heavy Rains Bring Worries Of West Nile Virus

This map shows the incidence of human West Nile virus by state for 2013.
Credit Centers for Disease Control

With heavy rainfall still drenching parts of the Southwest, health officials are warning that mosquito populations could increase, and more mosquitoes could mean more West Nile Virus.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:59 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Southwest Plague Cases Help High US Ranking For Bubonic Infections

Between 1900 and 2010, 999 confirmed or probable human plague cases occurred in the United States. More than 80 percent of United States plague cases have been the bubonic form.
Credit Centers for Disease Control

A new survey ranks the United States 11th in the number of reported plague cases around the world. Of the cases found in the U.S. over the last decade, most infections were acquired in the Southwest.

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Public Health New Mexico
7:24 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Open Government Group Sues To Force Audit Release

Credit Rrrodrigo via Flickr

The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government has filed a lawsuit seeking public disclosure of an audit that identified potential overbillings and fraud by providers of mental health and substance abuse services.

The Human Services Department has frozen payments to more than a dozen behavioral health providers because of the fraud allegations.

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Public Health New Mexico
1:34 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Timeline: New Mexico's Shake Up Of Behavioral Health Providers

N.M. Human Services Department Secretary Sidonie Squier reviews behavioral health audit findings with Attorney General Gary King at the Legislative Finance Committee's July 17 meeting in Albuquerque.
Credit Bryant Furlow / New Mexico In Depth

At the end of June, 15 New Mexico behavioral health agencies had their Medicaid funding frozen by the state's Human Services Department due to “credible allegations of fraud.”

The agencies provide services to approximately 30,000 patients, many who seek help for mental health issues ranging from substance abuse treatment to schizophrenia.

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Public Health New Mexico
6:24 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Lawmaker's Bill Targets Emergency Status Used In Behavioral Health Crisis

2013 Session of the New Mexico State Legislature, Santa Fe
Credit Deborah Martinez

When Medicaid funding for 15 of New Mexico’s behavioral health providers was frozen earlier this summer, lawmakers began hearing from their constituents.

Senator Tim Keller says people in his district in southeast Albuquerque are extremely upset. Now Keller has drafted a piece of legislation he hopes will prevent this kind of situation from happening again. 

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Public Health New Mexico
4:35 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Uninsured To Get Lower Premiums Under Obamacare

Credit Thinkprogress.org

The state expects about half of the 400,000 uninsured New Mexicans to purchase insurance through the state health insurance exchange when it’s fully implemented in 2014.  A new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds New Mexicans will pay some of the lowest rates in the nation.  

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Public Health New Mexico
4:05 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Company That Conducted NM Behavioral Health Audit Has Questionable Record

Fifteen New Mexico behavioral health providers that were accused of fraud and shut down still haven’t been able to see the audits that lead to their downfall. The audits supposedly showed the companies over-billed the state for Medicaid reimbursements.

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Public Health New Mexico
9:14 am
Sat September 7, 2013

5 Insurers Offer Health Plans Through NM Exchange

Credit Kaiser Family Health Foundation

A new national study says the cost of medical plans available through New Mexico's health insurance exchange likely will be lower than in many other states.

New Mexico's top insurance regulator said uninsured individuals also will find more insurance options through the exchange than currently are available in the private market.

Insurance Superintendent John Franchini said people who qualify for federal subsidies can expect to buy their insurance through the exchange at costs lower than current market rates.

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Public Health New Mexico
3:35 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Elderly Health Care Costs Could Spike Under Federal Health Law

"The age group that will face the highest increases is actually older individuals, 64 year olds in New Mexico will see a 159% increase in their rates to $494 a month and similarly women will see a 160% increase in their rates," says Avik Roy with the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.
Credit Manhattan Institute for Policy Research

When the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, many consumers buying health insurance could take a big hit to their checkbooks, and New Mexico may take the biggest hit of all.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:22 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

New Mexico Behavioral Health Auditor Helped Vet Arizona Firms Before Finishing Work

In June the state of New Mexico froze Medicaid payments to 15 behavioral health providers due to "credible allegations of fraud." The agencies were then taken over by

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Public Health New Mexico
5:54 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

State Scouted Early For Arizona Behavioral Health Providers

Credit A Health Blog via Flickr

Members of New Mexico's Behavioral Health legislative subcommittee discovered this week that state officials were considering contracts with Arizona providers before local firms had been notified of fraud allegations.

Some lawmakers are now looking at potential lawsuits because of an audit performed by the firm Public Consulting Group, or PCG. The audit resulted in a freeze of Medicaid funding to 15 local behavioral health providers.

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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
6:06 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Protestors Plead With Governor To Stop Behavioral Health Takeover

Behavioral health advocates rally outside the state capitol on Friday, August 30
Credit Deborah Martinez

Protestors gathered at the state capital in Santa Fe today,  pleading with Governor Susana Martinez to change course and end the chaos now hampering New Mexico’s behavioral health system.   Front-line workers who treat extreme cases of the mentally ill reported losing touch with their clients after five Arizona firms took over operations at 12 local providers.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:13 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Federal Officials Take Comments From Clients On Behavioral Health Service Disruptions

Credit jetheriot via Flickr

Federal authorities heard directly Wednesday from more than two dozen behavioral health clients concerned about the continuing disruptions of services in New Mexico. Callers were highly critical of the state's move to freeze Medicaid funding for providers suspected of fraud. One after another, men and women, adult patients and parents of children recounted problems getting services.  

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Local News
3:15 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Hurdles For New Behavioral Health Managers Get Higher

Credit Deborah Martinez

This week marks the beginning of new management  for another one of the New Mexico's nonprofits under investigation for alleged Medicaid fraud.  Three out of four of the counselors who treated patients at Valencia Counseling Services in Los Lunas are no longer working there, and that has the new management team on edge. 

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Poverty and Public Health
6:53 am
Fri August 23, 2013

AG Releases Heavily Redacted Audit Protocol Document

Often, redacted documents might look like this, with blurred or darkly marked segments. But according to The Albuquerque Journal, the redacted Audit Protocol documents they received were so heavily redacted that 8 of 13 pages were entirely blank.
Credit opensourceway via Flickr

The State Attorney General's Office released parts of  an audit Thursday of 15 behavioral health providers who have been accused of over-billing and Medicaid fraud by the Human Services Department.

The Albuquerque Journal reports 8 of 13 pages of the "Audit Protocols" document were completely redacted while 4 other pages were almost completely redacted.

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Poverty and Public Health
4:51 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Report: Wage Theft Common Among Mexican Immigrants

Report Says Wage Theft Common Among Immigrants
Credit Andrew Shank, Jessica Garrick, Somos Un Pueblo Unido

Employers in New Mexico steal wages from one in four Mexican immigrant workers. That’s according to a new study from researchers at the University of New Mexico.

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Poverty and Public Health
3:21 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Lawmakers Powerless To Stop Behavioral Health Funding Transfer

Brent Ernest, deputy secretary of the NM Human Services Department, speaks to state legislators about the takeover of NM Medicaid-funded behavioral health facilities.
Credit Deborah Martinez

Governor Susana Martinez’s administration is moving ahead - despite objections from state legislators - with plans to use more than 10-million dollars from the Human Services Department to pay Arizona contractors that are taking over New Mexico’s Medicaid-funded behavioral health operations.   The Legislative Finance Committee voted 15 to 1 on Wednesday to reject the budget transfer.

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Poverty and Public Health
2:54 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

National Salmonella Outbreak Linked To New Mexico

Multistate Outbreak of Human Salmonella Typhimurium Infections Linked to Live Poultry in Backyard Flocks.
Credit Centers for Disease Control

More than 300 people in 37 states have been infected by salmonella, many of which were children. Investigators have linked the source of the outbreak to a chicken, duck and turkey hatchery in Eastern New Mexico.


In the Southwest, nine people have been infected in California, eight in Arizona, 19 in New Mexico, and 32 in Texas.

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KUNM On NPR
3:13 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Researchers Use Genetic History To Answer Mutation Questions

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 4:58 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In the American Southwest, a rare genetic disorder known as the Common Hispanic Mutation has haunted those of Spanish descent for nearly 400 years. It's been called "El Frio," or the cold. Now, to understand the disease, researchers in New Mexico are digging into the genetic history of residents. From member station KUNM in Albuquerque, Tristan Ahtone reports.

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Poverty and Public Health
12:10 pm
Sat August 17, 2013

12 Things You Should Know About The Behavioral Health Audit And Funding Freeze

Credit A Health Blog via Flickr

There are still a lot of questions about the New Mexico Human Services Department's abrupt halt of Medicaid funding to 15 behavioral health providers and the state's contracts with Arizona firms to take over provider management.

Here's some of what we do know.

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