New Mexico behavioral health providers who had their Medicaid funding frozen after allegations of fraud and mismanagement are in the process of transitioning to management from several Arizona contractors.
Meanwhile, Valencia Counseling Service, a facility south of Albuquerque, is holding out for a last minute reprieve from an Albuquerque District Court.
There’s been a lot of uncertainty about what new management by out-of-state firms will mean for behavioral health providers in New Mexico. Thursday morning on the KUNM Call In Show some of that uncertainty was dispelled by Diana McWilliams of the state Human Services Department .
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.
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.
Farmers marketsare in full swing around New Mexico. That’s good news for families with school-aged children. Childhood obesity rates are declining a bit across the state and around the nation. What might be playing a role in the decrease? We visited a northern New Mexico market to find out.
Business is bustling at the Española Farmers Market.
Exercising the right to peacefully assemble, this afternoon hundreds of people from across New Mexico stood shoulder to shoulder in a Legislative Finance Committee meeting, urging lawmakers and the Cabinet Secretary of the Human Services Department to reinstate funding for Behavioral Health Services across the state.
Children of low-income families who get free early education services in northern New Mexico will have to seek help elsewhere because two Head Start centers are closing as part of the the federal deficit cutting plan known as sequestration. Presbyterian Medical Services, the nonprofit that gives a “head start” to hundreds of children before kindergarten, is feeling the pinch and cutting services.
Fourteen Behavioral health providers in New Mexico hoping to have their Medicaid funding reinstated will have to wait at least another day, as the federal court judge asked to decide the issue has taken it under advisement.
It's business as usual as patients come and go at Santa Fe's Christus St. Vincent Hospital, but inside visitors from the New Mexico Department of Health are undertaking a site survey in response to a complaint by the union representing hundreds of hospital nurses.
In New Mexico, thousands of veterans are living with post traumatic stress disorder. Some of them are joining forces with elected officials to push for increased access to medical marijuana as a treatment for PTSD.
New data from the Centers For Disease Control conclude that nationally, overdose deaths among women have been on the rise since 1999; and that since 2007, more women have died from overdoses than motor vehicle-related injuries.
However, officials in New Mexico say those trends are nothing new in the state.
Navajo President Ben Shelley has declared a state of emergency for drought conditions on the Navajo Nation. Officials are concerned ongoing drought may be creating unsafe conditions for people who need drinkable water.
Minimum wage workers in unincorporated areas of Bernalillo County got a raise on July 1st.
The new county wage law that was passed in April raises the minimum wage from $7.50 and hour to $8.00 an hour for businesses outside Albuquerque city limits. Commissioner Art De La Cruz, a democrat who represents parts of the west side and the south valley was the bill’s sponsor. He says its not a living wage, but that it will help the low paid workers and their communities.
New Mexico's agricultural workers face low pay, dangerous conditions, and have few laws to protect them from abuse. Those allegations are contained in a new report from the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty.
Veterans with combat disorders joined their families this week to express their frustration at how long it takes to get veterans services. Congressional representatives Steve Pearce and Michelle Lujan Grisham hosted the public forum in Albuquerque Monday.
Only half of the Native American students in the U.S. graduated from high school in 2010, according to a new report by the non-profit publisher of Education Week. The study found Native American students graduated at a rate 30 percent lower than white students, 17 percent lower than Latino students, and 10 percent lower than African American students.
More cases of Hepatitis ‘A’ found in tainted frozen berries from Costco Wholesale have been identified in New Mexico and the southwest, with 100 people who were exposed receiving a vaccination. At least 61 people are sick and have been hospitalized in seven states, including New Mexico, according to the New Mexico Department of Health. David Selvage is an epidemiologist with DOH. He says people who have eaten the Townsend Farms Organic Anti-oxidant Blend frozen berries in the last 14 days should see their doctor or go to a clinic to get the Hepatitis-A vaccine.
The Environmental Protection Agency says they'll be inspecting properties on Acoma Pueblo in western New Mexico for radioactive materials. The assessment is one of numerous being conducted in the southwest, and in Indian Country.
Since 2009, the EPA says they've been doing structural assessments of properties near former uranium mills and mines, including the Navajo Nation, Laguna Pueblo and now Acoma Pueblo.
Children who depend on free meals at school in New Mexico have a place to go this summer now that the state's summer meals program is up and running.
The pre-packaged meals usually include a sandwich, carrots or another veggie, milk or juice and fruit, and for kids who might not otherwise get lunch at home during the summer months. New Mexico's Children, Youth and Families Department doles out the money to schools and local government agencies that hand out the meals at central locations in dozens of cities. Henry Varela is CYFD's spokesman.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD for short, says the Navajo Nation has failed to spend nearly $150-million in housing grant money for fiscal year 2012. Since 2000, the Navajo Nation have almost consistently failed to spend HUD grant money.
In a letter of warning to the Navajo Housing Authority, HUD gave notice that the tribe was in violation of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act.
The effects of the sequester are beginning to hit home for many of New Mexico’s federally funded social programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, that provides a small amount of grocery money for hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans each month. Several speakers at the New Mexico State Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee meeting Thursday pointed out that New Mexico leads the nation in income inequality, making it one of the poorest states in the nation.
New Mexico’s Public Defender’s office has been undergoing changes since voters approved a constitutional amendment creating an independent office last year. A commission made up of 11 members appointed by Governor Susana Martinez and state legislators will select a chief public defender by mid-October, moving the department out of the governor’s authority.
Some critically ill New Mexicans could end up paying more for their health care this year.
Almost 16 hundred New Mexicans are slated to be shifted out of a state high risk medical insurance pool into a new federal health coverage plan on July 1st. That's because the federal government is cutting funding for the state program to just over 12 million dollars.
But the new plan would cost more for the patients, many of whom suffer from HIV/AIDS, cancer, and diabetes -chronic diseases that are often quite expensive to treat.
UPDATE: Exchange board chairman J.R Damron said Monday that New Mexico will focus on having a state-run insurance exchange ready for small businesses this fall and will use a federally operated exchange to offer insurance coverage to individuals for the next year.
He said a "hybrid" approach to the exchange was necessary because the state didn't have enough time to implement its own computer system to serve individuals by a looming federal deadline.