The Associated Press reported on the latest struggle between those who want to keep the audit secret, saying it is a law enforcement record, and those who say it should be subject to the Inspection of Public Records Act and released.
District Judge Sarah Singleton made the decision Tuesday after hearing arguments from lawyers for the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government and Attorney General Gary King’s office.
Attorney General Gary King and the state Human Services Department argue that since the audit has been turned over to the State Police to investigate alleged Medicaid fraud by behavioral health providers, they can deny the release of the audit using the law enforcement exemption in IPRA.
Opponents disagree with the argument and say since the audit was paid for by public funds for a public entity that it should be subject to IPRA. The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government is among those who have sued for the release of the audit, as are New Mexico In Depth and the Las Cruces Sun-News.
The AG and HSD released a partial, heavily-redacted version of the behavioral health audit last month.
The main issue is the audit allegedly found “credible allegations of fraud” from over a dozen behavioral health providers. This gave HSD secretary Sidonie Squier the ability to stop funding to these providers. This resulted in the state having entities from Arizona come in and take over for those that could no longer provide mental health services — resulting in disruptions in some disruptions in service.
Filed under: Featured, Health, Open Government · Tags: behavioral health udit, Gary King, Human Services Department, Inspection of Public Records Act, New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, Sidonie Squier