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Staffer Reflects After Fraud Allegations Evaporate

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New Mexico’s attorney general announced on Tuesday that his office cleared the final two behavioral health providers accused of fraud. Those allegations against more than a dozen providers shuttered services that the state is still scrambling to restore.   

The state froze Medicaid payments to 15 New Mexico behavioral health providers in 2013. TeamBuilders Counseling Services held on for a few more months but, like most, was eventually forced to close. 

Former employee Christina Cole said now that TeamBuilders has been cleared, her emotions are mixed. There’s happiness, she said, "But there’s also sort of some kind of righteous anger and sadness over seeing that the mental health population is still being affected by this—right now—and it's not gotten better, and the services are not what they could have been.

Five companies from Arizona were brought in to pick up the slack, but three haven’t been able to stick it out

The attorney general did find some evidence of overbilling but nothing near the magnitude of the allegations. Gov. Susana Martinez responded by suggesting CEOs of behavioral health providers squandered Medicaid dollars.

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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