Local Legislators Push For Better Behavioral Healthcare

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Members of the Legislative Finance Committee at Tuesday's Behavioral Health presentation in Santa Fe. Courtesy photo

Legislators Push For Better Behavioral Healthcare

Serious Questions Arise At Legislative Finance Committee Behavioral Health Presentation

Submitted by Carol A. Clark

SANTA FE – Members of the Legislative Finance Committee raised serious concerns over New Mexico’s behavioral health system at Tuesday’s Legislative Finance Committee meeting regarding behavioral health services for Medicaid clients.

After a slew of questions from legislators regarding the now departing Arizona providers that were brought in to replace New Mexican providers in 2013 at a cost of $17.8 million, House Representative Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Sandoval and Santa Fe) asked how we can make sure that services are maintained during this “debacle.”

Dist. 45 Rep. Jim Trujillo (center) and Dist. 43 Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard (right) discuss New Mexico’s behavioral health crisis at Tuesday’s legislative meeting. Courtesy photo

“I believe there is a behavioral health crisis in New Mexico. I want to make sure that our most vulnerable populations are protected when audits or provider transitions occur, “Garcia Richard said. “We need to work for a due process when these accusations are made, instead of suspending services at the first allegation. New Mexicans with behavioral health issues and their families deserve better and can’t afford to have critical services interrupted.”

Rep. Jim Trujillo of Santa Fe echoed her thoughts and brought another angle, describing an affected provider in his District,

“In my district, there was a provider that was shut down, and we lost 200 jobs,” Trujillo said. “They were found by the Attorney General to be innocent. How do we get them back in the system? Because I do believe they have legal grounds to sue.” 

Trujillo continued that he too had individuals who lost services in his district and the surrounding area,

“I know that many people lost services, I know because they called me, and their families asked me for help,” he said. “I have constituents that lost their jobs and didn’t have anywhere to go.”

 

 

 

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