Second provider to leave after talks with state fail

The state’s negotiations to prevent an Arizona mental health and substance abuse treatment provider from leaving New Mexico have fallen flat, casting into uncertainty the services for nearly 3,800 clients in seven counties…

La Frontera will be the second replacement provider to pull out of New Mexico after losing millions of dollars since setting up shop in the state. Turquoise Health and Wellness, which served the eastern portion of the state, left April 1…

La Frontera’s looming departure deals yet another blow to Gov. Susana Martinez’s abrupt overhaul of the behavioral health system. To date, two of the New Mexico providers the administration dismissed over suspected fraud through Medicaid overbilling have been cleared by the Attorney General’s Office, and no criminal charges have been filed against any of the displaced providers, most of which have closed down. The Counseling Center in Alamogordo, one of the communities where La Frontera will discontinue services, was cleared of fraud by the attorney general, but shut down after the state cut off its Medicaid funds…

The speedy replacement of the ousted providers with the Arizona companies, which the state paid about $24 million to establish operations here…

Sen. Mary Kay Papen, D-Las Cruces, one of the most vocal critics of the behavioral health shake-up, said in February she was dumbfounded that La Frontera could be struggling so mightily after the millions of dollars the state had paid to help the organization establish its operation here, the 12 percent increase in rates it was awarded over the fees its predecessors received for services, and the Human Services Department’s assertion that the number of people receiving Medicaid behavioral health services has grown dramatically since the shake-up…

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