Friday News Roundup: Reports Possible Soon On Some Mental Health Fraud

Oct 25, 2013

Reports Possible Soon On Some Mental Health Fraud - Associated Press

Attorney General Gary King says his office may soon finish investigations into some fraud allegations against more than dozen behavioral health providers shut off from Medicaid payments by Gov. Susana Martinez's administration.

King told the Legislative Finance Committee on Thursday that he hoped to issue reports before the end of this year on some of the 14 nonprofit organizations that have been suspended from receiving Medicaid reimbursement for mental health and substance abuse services.

However, King wouldn't speculate on when investigators would complete their review of allegations against all the providers. He said investigators have collected a mountain of documents and are interviewing staff and clients of some providers.

King said it was too early to say whether there is evidence of possible criminal fraud.

NM Awards $27M Water Infrastructure Loan - Associated Press

The New Mexico Environment Department is loaning the city of Portales $27 million to revamp its wastewater system.

Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn says it's one of the largest loans the department has ever made, and it's part of an effort by the Martinez administration to improve aging water infrastructure around the state.

Flynn acknowledges that three years of extreme drought have prompted more communities to reach out for help.

Ten communities have already been awarded loans through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, and state officials say another 10 projects have been reviewed.

Flynn pointed to a survey by the American Society of Civil Engineers that puts a $922 million price tag on needed investments in New Mexico's water infrastructure over the next 20 years.

Fish Limit Waived For Santa Fe River - Associated Press

The New Mexico Game and Fish Department is allowing anglers to catch and keep as many fish as they want from a two-mile stretch of the Santa Fe River.

The emergency salvage order comes as the city prepares to stop releasing water from reservoirs upstream. Officials say the order will allow anglers to remove trout from the river before it runs dry.

The order will remain in effect through Nov. 1 and will apply only to the section of river from Paseo de Peralta downstream to Camino Alire.

The department stocked more than 500 trout in the river this fall to provide fishing opportunities. People have caught most of the fish, but officials say some may remain.

Calif. Man Stricken At NM Camp Of Missing Son - Associated Press

Authorities in western New Mexico say the father of a missing hiker died while monitoring the search for his son near Reserve.

Search team spokesman Dave Baldridge says 70-year-old Ray Lockhart of Huntington Beach, Calif., died Wednesday while being transported to a hospital.

Lockhart's son, 43-year-old Steven Lockhart of Costa Mesa, Calif., has been missing since he became separated from fellow hikers Saturday in the Gila National Forest.

A search was launched Sunday.

Baldridge says a New Mexico State Police officer and a paramedic with the Santa Fe search and rescue team attended to the father after he collapsed at the hikers' camp.

The state medical investigator will determine the cause of death.