Soon there may be a deep budget cut for Behavioral Health Services, an $8 million cut. Governor Martinez wants a 1.2% cut but the Legislature wants to cut 19% of the Behavioral Health Services budget. You read that right: 19%. Martinez has previously stated that she wants more money going towards Behavioral Health Services, though she could have been referencing that in regards to children’s services.
What about in 2013 when Martinez’ office accused 15 behavioral health providers of fraud? Because of these investigations, some of these providers had to close. Around that time in 2013, 85% of Medicaid customers in the state went to these providers. And guess what? 13 out of 15 were cleared of any wrong-doing today.
The Legislature wants to shift most of the costs over to Medicaid, but it’s been noted that that definitely won’t cover training police/response teams that deal mainly with people behavioral health issues and substance abuse issues. This will also affect 25 programs and over 20,000 people in the state. This would especially affect Rio Arriba County which has been getting $500,000/year for the last 5 years. Rio Arriba has one of the highest heroin overdose rates in the US; 10 times more than the national average.
How can New Mexicans dealing with behavioral health issues, particularly with substance abuse issues, get help without the necessary resources? When essential health programs are cut back or taken away, the problem doesn't go away, it gets worse. If you’re disturbed by this issue like I am, here’s a resource for you so you can email your legislators, senators, representatives, governor and other local officials.
Let’s do better, New Mexico.