KRQE-TV.com - Jessica Garate - Patients, their families, and employees working with mental health and substance abuse providers said Tuesday they are fearful and upset about how the state has handled an audit showing more than a dozen providers possibly abusing the system.
A mother whose son suffers with a mental illness said she is worried service will be disrupted. “I am fearful as a parent,” said Gay Finlayson. “This is a fragile system with fragile, fragile people and we need to support that and what has happened has not been supported, at least not to my family at all.”
A five-month state audit exposed mismanagement, fraud, waste and abuse among 15 mental health and substance abuse providers across the state. The state said companies over-billed taxpayers by $36 million.
The state is paying more than $15 million to an Arizona company to train and oversee the agencies. Once new management is in place , Medicaid payments will be restored. In the meantime, those companies must still provide services to patients. The governor says state action is necessary to avoid corruption.
“Approximately $36 million are not going to those who deserve it and need it the most. Instead, [the money] was lost, misused, misspent, stolen. We're not going to put up with that,” said Gov. Susana Martinez. Attorney General Gary King refused to release the audit publicly because his office, along with the FBI, are still investigating to see if anyone will be charged criminally. More