As Gilda Radner’s Emily Litella might have said, “Nevermind!”
More than four years after accusing Southwest Counseling Center of overbilling the state by $2.8 million in Medicaid reimbursements, the Human Services Department has settled with the former Las Cruces behavioral health provider for $484.87. SWCC was one of 15 health organizations accused of overbilling and potential fraud by Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration in 2013. The state suspended Medicaid payments to the organizations pending an investigation, and outsourced behavioral health contracts to five Arizona companies, which effectively crippled the network of New Mexico behavioral health providers. All the while, the state kept an audit they used to justify the move secret, making it impossible for each organization to know what they were being accused of specifically. See a timeline and read of coverage of the Medicaid freeze here.
The New Mexico Attorney General exonerated 10 health providers of fraud charges Monday, a significant reversal for Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration, which accused 15 organizations of wrongdoing more than two years ago and forced some out of business after stopping the flow of government dollars to them.
A former University of New Mexico regent publicly accused Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration Friday of politically interfering to block the development of a new facility to replace the university’s ’outmoded’ hospital.
If I learned one thing from the young people I’ve met while reporting this project, it’s that my daughter needs me to listen without judgment, forsaking the temptation to give advice or prattle on about my own childhood experiences.
This taboo of speaking about death is common among New Mexico’s tribal communities. Some people in and around Thoreau are pushing to change that after as many as 15 young people died by suicide in 2010.
While it might not seem like it from reading headlines day-in, day-out, the heart of journalism beats with hope. It is with that hope that NMID offers this series in a spirit of both humility and gratitude.
New Mexico’s Native American youth die by suicide at a rate twice as high as that seen among people of other ethnicities. And our analysis suggests that official databases underestimate the true number of lives lost.