Review of mental health system needed

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. I’ve heard from New Mexicans all over the state who were devastated by this heartless and unnecessary action, but we still don’t know the full impact that this disruption in services had system-wide.

I repeatedly requested information from the Martinez Administration, as well as the federal Health and Human Services Department that would help ascertain whether people were denied services as a result of the system shake-up. What happened to those who were left scrambling to get help for addiction and substance abuse disorders, or to manage their psychiatric medication, or find effective crisis interventions? Did they receive services elsewhere? Did they end up in emergency rooms, or worse, were they left to cope with mental illness without any access to medical professionals?

Look around our communities. 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. More…

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