March 15, 2016

Lujan and Lujan Grisham Take to House Floor to Discuss New Mexico's Behavioral Health Crisis

Reps. Call for Federal Investigation into Disruption of Services

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján (NM-3) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-1) took to the House floor this morning to discuss the crisis facing New Mexico’s behavioral health care system after the State of New Mexico suspended payments to a number of behavioral health providers three years ago.  Since that time, one provider after the next has been exonerated of the charges leveled by the State, while vulnerable New Mexicans have experienced disruptions in services and providers in the state have closed their doors.

“This transition and turmoil caused many New Mexicans to fall through the cracks.  As a result too many families are hurting, too many people are suffering, and too many New Mexicans have been unable to access the care they need,” Rep. Luján said on the House floor.  “During our many conversations with CMS on this crisis and its impact on New Mexicans, it has been clear there is a lack of meaningful data that is needed to hold policy makers accountable. Without access to meaningful data, we can’t determine how best to invest to strengthen our behavioral health system, and we can’t possibly know if we are doing enough to ensure that the most vulnerable are being protected.  What we do know is New Mexico’s behavioral health system has been needlessly broken and that a full accounting is necessary to rebuild it and ensure that this never happens again.”

“I have spent my entire career fighting for vulnerable New Mexicans. People who are voiceless in the political process,” said Rep. Lujan Grisham during her remarks on the floor.  “It would be easy to ignore them, as so many have done, because they are too busy struggling to survive to engage in the political process.  It would be easy, but it would be wrong.  This is the most egregious abuse of power I have seen in my decades of government service, and I will not sit idly by while the most vulnerable among us suffer.  We must have action; we must have accountability.”

Last month, the Representatives joined with New Mexico’s Senators, Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, on a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell calling for a thorough investigation of the findings in the New Mexico Attorney General’s report that cleared 10 providers of fraud, bringing the total to 13 providers that have been exonerated.

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