Letter to the editor — July 17

Funding suspension having impact

Suspension of behavioral health Medicaid funding is having significant impact on Quay County’s health and well-being.

The New Mexico Department of Human Services recently announced a behavioral health Medicaid fund audit and suspension of payments to those agencies being investigated. As a result, agencies around the state are unable to provide these essential services and are closing their doors.

Quay County Health Council is very concerned about the local system of care. TeamBuilders Counseling Services is one of the 15 agencies whose Medicaid payments have been suspended. The investigation will go forward in order to resolve audit findings, but the process will take months. In the meantime, Quay County’s behavior health care system is in jeopardy.

Quay County has recently been identified by New Mexico Children Youth and Families Department as the county with highest risk for children ages prenatal-5 years in New Mexico. It is critical we maintain essential behavioral health services for children and families. Even short-term suspension of services will leave us without therapists and other behavioral health professionals. These folks will have to go where the jobs are, probably out of state.

Recruitment to our area is always difficult, leaving us with trying to rebuild a lost system.

I encourage citizens to contact Gov. Susana Martinez’s office and insist on the reinstatement of Medicare payments during this investigation, not only for Quay County, but the entire state. The 15 agencies identified in this investigation provide 85 percent of behavioral health services in this state. Reinstatement of Medicaid insurance payments during investigation is legal, according to federal law, and essential to maintaining services for those who depend on them.

Quay County’s children and families’ well-being depends upon keeping these services available during this investigation.

Bob Grzywacz

Chair, Quay County Health Council

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