SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The takeover of Medicaid-funded behavioral health providers by Arizona companies is proceeding as planned, New Mexico officials said.
But the Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/18r8EdK) that critics say the process has been plagued by bumps.
The New Mexico Human Services Department in June froze payments to 15 nonprofits that provide mental health and substance abuse services after an audit found what the agency said was a high rate of billing problems and possible mismanagement. Officials said five Arizona companies were prepared to step in, help out, or potentially take them over to provide services to patients.
Now at least five of the 15 nonprofits are currently being transitioned to management by Arizona companies.
Nancy Jo Archer, CEO of Albuquerque-based Hogares, one of those nonprofits, called it a “hostile takeover.” She said she’s scrambling to get everything ready to turn Hogares over to the new provider, called Open Skies, by the end of this week.
“It’s not that we’re trying to be difficult,” Archer said. “It’s just how do you get the logistics together?”
Getting medical records from one provider to another, for example, has been an issue.
“We can’t just give (Arizona provider) Valle del Sol the records of all our clients. It’s their private health information,” said Patsy Romero, chief operations officer at Santa Fe-based Easter Seals El Mirador, which shut down its Casa de Corazon behavioral health programs in Espanola, Taos and Raton last week.
Instead, clients must sign releases that allow the New Mexico providers to turn records over to the Arizona companies.
The state Human Services Department says it may need nearly $18 million to pay the Arizona companies during the transition, and the Legislative Finance Committee, which reviews the transfer of funds within agency budgets, recently gave HSD the go-ahead to shift $7.5 million within its budget for that purpose.