Two health care providers to pay $4.24 million in NM Medicaid controversy

By Rob Nikolewski on November 5, 2013

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
SANTA FE — In a wide-ranging case where allegations of $36 million of alleged fraud have been leveled against 15 New Mexico behavioral health providers, the state’s Human Services Department reauthorized Medicaid funding to two organizations on Monday — but only after they agreed to pay a combined $4.24 [...]

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Yet another delay in ‘Smiley’ Gallegos case

By Rob Nikolewski on October 22, 2013

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
ALBUQUERQUE — Sometimes justice is delayed; sometimes justice is denied. And sometimes, as in the case of former New Mexico state Rep. Vincent “Smiley” Gallegos, justice never seems to even get out of bed in the morning.
On Monday, a district court judge ordered yet another delay in the criminal [...]

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Radio wars over behavioral health rage — listen to the the competing ads here

By Rob Nikolewski on September 12, 2013

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
SANTA FE – Allegations of what the Human Services Department has called “credible allegations of fraud” among behavioral health providers has sparked a heated debate.
The source of the discourse is the department’s decision to suspend Medicaid payments, and both sides have they’ve taken to the airwaves with radio spots.
In [...]

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Criminal allegations in NM behavioral health system no surprise to one advocate

By Rob Nikolewski on August 23, 2013

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
SANTA FE – As the controversy continues over allegations of $36 million in potential misuse of funds, a former Green Party candidate for statewide and national office said she has a sense of déjà vu.
“I haven’t read the audit” of the providers in question, “but I do have concerns [...]

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Legislators frustrated as behavioral health controversy roils

By Rob Nikolewski on August 21, 2013

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
CHAMA – An estimated $36 million in potential fraud is a lot of money but members from both parties in the Legislative Finance Committee don’t like what they say is a lack of transparency from the Human Services Department.
As a result, on Wednesday the committee in a 15-1 vote supported an objection [...]

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Former NM secretary of state on stolen voter education funds: ‘I did nothing wrong’

By Rob Nikolewski on August 20, 2013

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
SANTA FE — Three associates of former New Mexico Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil have been convicted on charges related to $2.5 million in stolen voter education funds that were assigned to the state by the federal government.
But Vigil remains a free woman, unindicted in the federal case. State [...]

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The NM behavioral health controversy rolls on

By Rob Nikolewski on August 5, 2013

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
SANTA FE — In one corner are allegations that some $36 million has been misspent by behavioral health providers in New Mexico.
In the other corner are the providers, who say it’s unfair their Medicaid funding was suspended while the state’s Attorney General’s office — and possibly other law enforcement [...]

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Remember this? It’s nothing to smile about

By Rob Nikolewski on July 26, 2013

A U.S. Senate report claims taxpayer dollars are being wasted at the Small Smiles dental chain and the company should be thrown out of the Medicaid program.
The 1,517-page report came out this week after a two-year investigation and charges that the chain encouraged dentists to perform unnecessary procedures, overbilled patients and produced low-quality work.
The corporate [...]

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AG’s office says Obamacare vests power in HSD in behavioral health controversy

By Rob Nikolewski on July 25, 2013

Roundhouse Democrats are spitting mad, demanding that funding be restored to 15 behavioral health providers across the state.
But in a profound political irony, the deputy chief of the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office said Thursday that changes in federal statute due to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act have vested sweeping powers into the hands of the [...]

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“Thanks honey!” — NM insurance boss takes job after wife quits hers

By Rob Nikolewski on June 26, 2013

ALBUQUERQUE — John Franchini must have really wanted to become the superintendent of insurance for the state New Mexico. And he may have to buy his wife plenty of candy and flowers.
The 67-year-old veteran of state politics announced Wednesday afternoon that his wife Julie had resigned her job as an underwriter for the Independent Insurance [...]

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