State: Feds Wrong About Decline In Behavioral Health Services

Mar 22, 2014

Credit David Niblack, Imagebase.net

New Mexico’s Human Services Department says more consumers, not fewer, are receiving services since the takeover last summer of a dozen behavioral health providers accused of fraud. HSD’s response is contrary to the results of a progress report by a federal oversight agency.

The federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services came to identify any barriers to access after five Arizona firms took over from a dozen New Mexico nonprofits, and found a 23-percent decrease in patients served over a 4 month period. 

Matt Kennicott, spokesman for HSD, says his department's records contradict what the federal agency found.

“The data we provided shows about 10,000 people receiving services in May of last year, and the data post-transition in November of last year shows just over 12,000 people receiving services. So, honestly we don’t know where CMS pulled that 23-percent number from and quite frankly it’s off,” Kennicott said.

HSD provided its own numbers to the federal government in February, in which it also claimed that behavioral management services provided to students at schools in New Mexico have dropped.  HSD added that was due to previous over-use of services and successful treatment of clients.