March 10, 2016

Odds and Ends: More calls for behavioral health investigation

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Andy Lyman

Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez

—State Senate Dems call for behavioral health investigation.

The Democrats in the State Senate joined with the Democrats in the state’s congressional delegation to ask for a federal investigation into the behavioral health shakeup that cut off Medicaid funding for 15 behavioral health providers, many of which closed down.

Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez

Andy Lyman

Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez

The Human Services Department cut off funding after finding “credible allegations of fraud” from the providers; investigations by the attorney general found no wrongdoing by 13 providers so far. The investigation into the final two remains ongoing.

“HSD’s callous actions in the months before, during and after the takeover negatively affected the providers and their employees’ financial condition, but more importantly they seriously harmed the mental health of those who rely on those services,” Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, said in a statement.

The Senators sent a letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell (you can see the letter here) earlier this month.

—Gov. Susana Martinez named Scott Weaver to head the Department of Public Safety.

Weaver will replace Greg Fouratt, who left the position last month after being appointed to a federal judgeship.

Department of Public Safety Secretary-Designate Scott Weaver

Department of Public Safety Secretary-Designate Scott Weaver

Weaver will be secretary-designate until confirmed by the State Senate.

“As a former prosecutor whose father and husband were also law enforcement officers, I know that Scott’s background as a leader of our State Police will serve him well in this new role,” Martinez said in a statement. “The dedication, leadership, and accomplishments that Scott has shown throughout his career in public safety demonstrate that he is prepared to lead DPS, and I’m confident he will continue to help make New Mexico’s families and communities safer.”

Weaver was deputy secretary of the DPS under Fouratt. He also was a New Mexico State Police officer from 1994 to 2015.

—Earlier this week, NM Political Report revealed the controversial past of one Democratic candidate for State Representative in Albuquerque.

KOB-TV reported on Wednesday night that Berkheimer currently has a court-ordered ankle monitor for violating a protection order.

Photo Credit: gak cc

Photo Credit: gak cc

NM Political Report editor Matthew Reichbach will be on KSFR next week.

While the KSFR taping earlier this week fell through, Reichbach will appear on Here and There with Dave Marash on Monday and Tuesday (that’s 5:06 p.m. each day) to discuss the legislative session.

We’ll be talking the budget, ethics reform and many other things that happened last month. So tune in at 101.1 FM if you’re in Santa Fe or at KSFR.org if you’re near a computer.

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