NM Congressional Delegation Calls For Increased Oversight of State’s Human Services Department; Greater Access To Behavioral Health Services

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell

STATE News:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Reps. Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham wrote a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell requesting increased oversight of New Mexico Human Services Department to ensure New Mexicans in greatest need of behavioral health services are able to access care. 

In 2013, HSD suspended Medicaid payments to 15 nonprofit behavioral health providers due to so-called “credible allegations of fraud.” This led to the closure and eventual replacement of 12 behavioral health providers with Arizona-based providers, limiting access to behavioral health services for many New Mexicans with serious mental illness and substance abuse disorders. 

“We fully support the need to curb waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicare, Medicaid and other health care programs. However, we are concerned that several irregularities surrounding HSD’s decision to suspend payments have undermined the legitimacy of its audit process,” wrote the lawmakers. “The purpose of federal oversight is to ensure that states have effective processes in place for determining whether allegations of fraud are credible, and serious questions remain as to whether HSD has such processes in place.”

A copy of the letter is available below or HERE.

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