Firm awarded NM contracts despite fraud inquiry

January 14, 2013 • State News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico health officials awarded contracts to a Roswell-based firm that was at the time was and still is the subject of another agency’s investigation into alleged Medicaid fraud.

The Department of Health Services awarded contracts to New Mexico Psychiatric Services last year to provide on-call or temporary services at [auth] state-run facilities, the Albuquerque Journal ( ) reported.

At the time, the department knew the state Attorney General’s Office was investigating the company in connection with its work for the Department of Human Services, the newspaper reported Sunday.

Kenny Vigil, a spokesman for the health department, said the agency knew about the investigation but didn’t consider the investigation a “determinative” factor.

The president of New Mexico Psychiatric Services, Dr. Babak Mirin, disclosed the investigation before any contracts were signed last year, Vigil said.

Mirin’s attorney, David H. Johnson, said the company has been cooperating with the attorney general’s investigation and will repay any overpayments that it may have received.

“At this point there has only been an allegation of billing fraud,” Johnson said in an email to the Journal. “Fraud has not been established.”

The Department of Health and the Department of Human Services Department are separate state agencies with some overlapping functions.

The Department of Health selected New Mexico Psychiatric Services, along with six other companies last May, to provide services as needed.

All seven firms that submitted proposals were approved to provide services and each state health department facility decided which firm to hire.

New Mexico Psychiatric landed most of the work by signing contracts for facilities in Albuquerque, Roswell and Las Vegas.

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