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Let's Talk about NM's behavioral health care system, a decade after it fell apart

Satrio Ramadhan, diversifylens

Let's Talk New Mexico 6/29 8am: In June 2013, the administration of then-Governor Susana Martinez froze the Medicaid funding of 15 behavioral health agencies in New Mexico after the state Human Services Department said an audit found “credible allegations of fraud.” While all the accused providers were later clearedby the attorney general, the incident severely disrupted the state’s behavioral health care system. In 2019, newly elected Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham committed to rebuilding the shattered system. On the next Let’s Talk New Mexico we’ll dig into the rebuilding efforts along with the gaps and challenges that persist.

A decade after the shake-up, there are still a lot of questions: What does a proper behavioral health care system look like and how close is New Mexico to achieving one? Is there appropriate funding for rebuilding and expansion? How will the new behavioral health system be responsive to local needs, values and traditions? And who’s engaging in this work?

We also want to hear from you. Have you encountered barriers to accessing or providing behavioral health care over the last decade? How have you felt changes as the state has worked to rebuild? Where are the gaps in the system and how would you like to see them addressed? Email LetsTalk@KUNM.org or call in live during the show at (505) 277-5866 Thursday morning from 8 to 9 a.m.


  • Michael Barndollar - Chair of Bernalillo County Behavioral Health Initiative Steering Committee, Vice Chair of BHI Housing Committee, BHI Working Group member
  • Jacqueline Nielsen - Acting Director, Behavioral Health Services Division, New Mexico Human Services Department
  • Bryce Pittenger - private practice therapist, former CEO of the New Mexico Behavioral Health Collaborative, former Clinical Director at Hogares Inc. 
  • Dr. Deidre Yellowhair - Project Director T.R.I.B.E.S., UNM Division of Community Behavioral Health
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Nash Jones (they/them) is a general assignment reporter in the KUNM newsroom and the local host of NPR's All Things Considered (weekdays on KUNM, 5-7 p.m. MT). You can reach them at nashjones@kunm.org or on Twitter @nashjonesradio.
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