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State district judge to review behavioral health providers audit

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A state district judge in Santa Fe said today she will review an audit of behavioral health providers before deciding whether to order it released to the public.

The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government is seeking the full audit done by a Boston consulting firm for the Human Services Department. The audit of 15 providers — which the department says showed overbilling, questionable business practices and possible fraud — led to an HSD crackdown on the nonprofits. Their Medicaid funding was suspended and a dozen of them were replaced by companies from Arizona.

Attorney General Gary King says the audit falls within a law-enforcement exception to the Inspection of Public Records Act. The open-government group disputes that, telling Judge Sarah Singleton at a hearing today that the AG has failed to provide any evidence that its investigation of possible fraud would be jeopardized by the audit’s release.

So far, only a small portion of the audit has been released in response to records requests, and much of that was blacked out.

The Foundation for Open Government says audit reports of public entities are public, and the public is entitled to know what’s in them.


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