Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that
a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change
the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Benjamin L. Rawson and Billy G. Garrett Published 9:56 p.m. MT Feb. 10, 2018 in the Las Cruces Sun News (Photo: Luis Snchez Saturno/The New Mexican) For people living with mental illness and/or substance use disorders, prompt access to treatment during a behavioral health crisis can determine whether a person gets the care needed – … Continue reading NM Senate bill would aid local mental health services
The Las Cruces Sun News is focusing on mental health. Here, we present a recent series of four articles on the state of mental health care and resources in Dona Ana County.
While newspapers documented the damage caused by Gov. Susana Martinez’s freeze of behavioral health providers’ Medicaid funding in 2013, her administration deflected blame. With possible over billing and so-called “credible allegations of fraud” in hand, the state’s Human Services Department (HSD) said Obamacare required freezing 15 organizations’ funding during criminal investigations. HSD’s claim was also false.
Even if one accepts that the actions by HSD (Martinez administration) began from incompetence it soon, I believe, turned into a conscious, deliberate and illegal cover-up. This apparent cover-up begs for an investigation. Thanks to Senator Papen and Congresswomen Lujan Grisham the issue front and center for years.
An effort by Doña Ana County to help keep people with severe mental health conditions from getting caught in a revolving door of arrests and hospitalization is getting off the ground .
Southwest Counseling Center was accused of over-billing by $2.8 million; more than four years later they have settled with the state for $484.87.
The federal Health and Human Services Department has agreed to conduct a review of behavioral health services in New Mexico in response to a request from the Democratic members of the state’s congressional delegation.
It’s been four years since Governor Martinez dismantled New Mexico’s behavioral health system, falsely accusing providers of fraud , freezing federal Medicaid payments, and forcing many of those businesses to shut down, including right here in Doña Ana County. Suicide rates are increasing in New Mexico, not getting better. In fact, suicide has increased by 17.5-percent since 2013 – the year that Medicaid funding was frozen and later shifted to out-of-state behavioral health providers.
During his many years on patrol, Lt. Shane Briscoe with the Las Cruces Police Department has been dealing with behavioral health issues. He says there are four common groups. “The ones that we deal with are depression, bipolar disorders, schizophrenic disorder, a combination of schizophrenia and bipolar — those are the categories that we really deal with,” says Briscoe.