The behavioral health provider in question is The Counseling Center in Alamogordo. It was among the 15 behavioral health providers that state Human Services Department secretary Sidonie Squier said had “credible allegations of fraud” in a behavioral health audit from last year and so had Medicaid funding suspended.
The Counseling Center was taken over by an Arizona firm in August of last year. Other firms were also taken over by the Arizona firm after their funding was cut off by the state.
Media reports said that The Counseling Center had funding restored, something that the CEO said never happened. The CEO, Jim Kerlin, had professed his innocence at the time.
“We get between one and three audits every year,” Kerlin told the Alamogordo Daily News. “We’ve always scored above 90 percent. The year before last, we scored 100 percent, which means they found no irregularities. We’re in compliance.”
In a letter to the department, King’s office said investigators determined that The Counseling Center in Alamogordo overbilled Medicaid $19,023.
The behavioral health audit has remained secret, with even the firms who are accused of fraud unable to see what they are accused of. Multiple attempts to release the behavioral health audit through the state’s Inspection of Public Records Act have failed due to the law’s law enforcement exemption.
Here is the full release from the office of the Attorney General:
New Mexico AG Gary King today announces that after an in depth investigation of The Counseling Center in Alamogordo, his office has found insufficient evidence to support allegations of fraud.
The AG’s Office will continue to investigate other providers referred to the AGO as part of the overall behavioral health audit originating with the New Mexico Human Services Department.