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New Mexico Telegram » Featured, Health, Open Government » Judge will decide on release of behavioral health audit

Judge will decide on release of behavioral health audit

Redacted behavioral health auditA judge will review the behavioral health audit and decide how much of the document should be released the public.

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.

The AP:

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.

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Matthew Reichbach has blogged about New Mexico politics since 2006. Matthew was a co-founder of New Mexico FBIHOP with his brother and part of the original hirings at the groundbreaking website the New Mexico Independent. Matthew has covered events such as the Democratic National Convention and Netroots Nation. In addition to politics, Matthew is an avid sports fan, especially of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and TV fan.

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