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New Mexico Telegram » Health

State and organization clash over significance of renewed inquiry

State and organization clash over significance of renewed inquiry

By Trip Jennings What standard should state investigators use to scrutinize payments the government made to a local health organization for helping children– usually those with behavioral and emotional problems – adjust to certain types of public settings, usually school classrooms? At issue is whether Easter Seals El Mirador – recently cleared of fraud by state Attorney General Gary King’s office – can bill the government for providing those services or not. That question appears to lie at the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Featured, Health

Anti-abortion activists take offense to words by McCleskey

Anti-abortion activists take offense to words by McCleskey

Susana Martinez political strategist Jay McCleskey allegedly called pro-life protesters “pieces of shit” after they were protesting in his neighborhood. ProgressNow New Mexico first noticed the claims by Protest ABQ as posted on Facebook. Protest ABQ is run by Bud and Tara Shaver, the couple who spearheaded the push for a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. That put Albuquerque at the forefront of the debate on abortion. The group has been criticized … Read entire article »

Filed under: Albuquerque, Featured, Health

VA secretary Eric Shinseki resigns; NM delegation responds

VA secretary Eric Shinseki resigns; NM delegation responds

VA secretary Eric Shinseki resigned on Friday, amid calls from dozens, if not hundreds, of U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators following the release of a preliminary report outlining problems in the VA. Shinseki resigned in a meeting with President Barack Obama where he outlined the findings of the report. Obama accepted Shinseki’s resignation. Sloan Gibson, deputy secretary of Veterans Affairs, is the acting secretary. On Thursday, both U.S. Senators and all three U.S. Representatives from New Mexico called … Read entire article »

Filed under: Featured, Health, National News

Udall, Heinrich want Shinseki to resign

Udall, Heinrich want Shinseki to resign

U.S Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heirnich both called on VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to step down because of a scandal involving wait times at VA hospitals. The calls come after a preliminary report by the Office of the Inspector General showed widespread problems in the VA including hundreds of veterans being kept off the waiting lists in Phoenix. The two are among a growing list of Senators from both parties asking Shinseki to resign. From the New … Read entire article »

Filed under: Featured, Health

Heinrich, Udall respond to VA investigations, allegations

Heinrich, Udall respond to VA investigations, allegations

In response to the latest allegations of mismanagement at VA hospitals, this time at the location in Albuquerque, Sen. Tom Udall announced funding to widen the investigation. The Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs approved an additional $5 million to the Office of the Inspector General of the VA health system. This is in addition to the $121 million given to the office for Fiscal Year 2015. “We need to find out what is truly … Read entire article »

Filed under: Featured, Health

AG probe raises questions about health audit’s integrity

AG probe raises questions about health audit’s integrity

d By Trip Jennings Last year, the state’s Human Services Department said an audit had helped find “credible allegations of fraud” against 15 New Mexico health organizations offering services such as drug addiction treatment and suicide counseling. Though HSD kept the audit secret — from the public and the organizations themselves — the department asserted the audit’s findings justified suspending Medicaid funding for the organizations. New information trickling out of the Office of the Attorney General, however, continues … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Featured, Health

AG finds overbilling but no fraud for behavioral health provider

AG finds overbilling but no fraud for behavioral health provider

A behavioral health provider that had Medicaid payments suspended because of “credible allegations” of fraud overcharged but there is no evidence of fraud according to Attorney General Gary King. King made the announcement Tuesday regarding Easter Seals-El Mirador on Tuesday morning. “Although our investigation found no actionable evidence of fraud, we did discover that Easter Seals El Mirador overbilled Medicaid in the amount of $34,126.19,” King said in a statement. The Attorney General’s office has said they are … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Featured, Health

Arizona health company cuts staff in Southern NM

Arizona health company cuts staff in Southern NM

By Rene Romo LAS CRUCES – La Frontera, an Arizona firm brought in last year to care for the mentally ill and those struggling with addiction across Southern New Mexico, laid off or fired 20 employees last week. About half were laid off to reduce expenses; the rest were fired for “performance issues,” according to Dan Ranieri, Tucson, Az.-based CEO for La Frontera New Mexico. Another six workers, including two “director level” staffers, have resigned since mid-March, Ranieri said Tuesday. La … Read entire article »

Filed under: Featured, Health

DOH announces plan to address medical cannabis shortage, new conditions allowed for

DOH announces plan to address medical cannabis shortage, new conditions allowed for

The secretary of the Department of Health announced a plan to address the shortage of marijuana for medicinal use in the state and that two more conditions were added to the approved list of conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana in the state. “We take the needs of medical cannabis patients very seriously. The Department commissioned a survey so that a decision about supply could be made based on data,” said Secretary of Health … Read entire article »

Filed under: Featured, Health

Audit looks at HSD failings following behavioral health audit

Audit looks at HSD failings following behavioral health audit

A Human Services Department audit showed problems in Fiscal Year 2013, including problems with a switch to new behavioral health providers. The department disputed much of the findings of the independent audit which was released by State Auditor Hector Balderas on Thursday. “The Department created additional fraud risks by violating state contracts and approving advance payments to private contractors for services not rendered,” Balderas said in a statement. “I’m also concerned that HSD approved double-billing and alcohol … Read entire article »

Filed under: Featured, Health