Records: State paid Arizona firm ahead of provider shake-up

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Posted: Saturday, June 28, 2014 9:00 pm

Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration shook up the state’s mental health system last June when it said an audit had revealed 15 nonprofit groups that provided treatment to the poor had overbilled Medicaid by as much as $36 million. The groups were stripped of their contracts, and a handful of companies from Arizona were brought in to replace them.

But months before the audit was even complete, the Martinez administration was already paying at least one of the Arizona companies for salaries, travel and legal fees, state records show. At least one payment to the company, Agave Health Inc., was made before the audit had even begun, according to the records.

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  • Albert Martinez posted at 7:59 pm on Sun, Jul 6, 2014.

    Albert Martinez voter Posts: 1

    Well fellow voter's, and residents of New Mexico. What can I say about the way Susana Martinez is flushing this State down the toilet. The big Texas & Arizona companies think of New Mexico as a big money tree, where they can come in and get blank checks from Susana Martinez, who is just handing them out to these out town corps, like candy! She has so much money for her re-election because, the big rich Texans want her their so they can keep milking this state. Gary King is running his race on pennies alone! He not using State tax dollar's. like the GOV. is doing, to fly State Police officers around country to raise money for her bank account. What are the State police doing Fling around with the Gov. any way's? Shouldn't they be on New Mexico Highways, protecting the communities from drugs, gang's, and drunk driver's. what's wrong with this picture? If Susana Martinez get's re-elected, this State will go bankrupt. The middle and lower class will be pushed out, like if we were immigrants! I never thought that a hispanic would ever turn on it's own people, but she is doing it! All for the Power and the Money. That's all she want's. She needs to know that we are tired of her law breaking lie's! And us voter's need to take back our State before She give's it all away, and we all will be homeless!!! "Susana Martinez, what a joke!" [thumbdown]

  • Joseph Hempfling posted at 3:44 pm on Sun, Jul 6, 2014.

    joehempfling Posts: 558

    QUEEN SUSANA does what she wants when she wants and does not answer to us serfs but to her KOCH BROTHERS PAY MASTERS. So where is the surprise and if re=elected stay tuned for more of the same as she has stacked the deck in her favor with all her already in place ideological friends. Loyalty as with Bush has become the name of the game.

  • Jennifer Bizzarro posted at 10:07 am on Fri, Jul 4, 2014.

    Jennifer_Bizzarro Posts: 644

    When the Albuquerque PD was accused of malfeasance, the Feds were called in to investigate. Among several other reasons, this was done to assure the public and injured parties a certain degree of fairness in the outcome of the proceedings.

    I am not familiar with the workings of the NMAG's office, but as he is running for office, any findings of impropriety against the governor would be challenged as would that of anyone working for him.

    What a mess! We will count on the "Freedom of the Press" to act on our behalf. Good story and excellent work, SF New Mexican![beam]

  • Jennifer Bizzarro posted at 3:08 pm on Tue, Jul 1, 2014.

    Jennifer_Bizzarro Posts: 644

    Fat fish in a very, VERY small pond.

  • Jennifer Bizzarro posted at 3:05 pm on Tue, Jul 1, 2014.

    Jennifer_Bizzarro Posts: 644

    From a law school that doesn't even make the Top 50! Why, she could have simply taken a correspondence course for all the LAW she knows--or has retained!


  • Patricio R. Downs posted at 3:38 pm on Mon, Jun 30, 2014.

    Patricio Downs Posts: 104

    Funny how things like this story - as well as the story about the cockfighting complaint brought to the AG's office - are coming out now, rather than a few weeks before Election Day.

    Just a friendly reminder that you get the government you vote for. [innocent]

  • Pierce Knolls posted at 8:36 am on Mon, Jun 30, 2014.

    Mister Pierce Posts: 3144


    King was “the worst attorney general” - Democratic Party Chairman Sam Bregman

    King should “consider recusing himself from office…” – The New Mexican

    “Fat girls should not wear bikini’s!” – Gary King’s campaign manager

    Gary King - “average capabilities.”

  • Philip Taccetta posted at 8:20 am on Mon, Jun 30, 2014.

    PhiltheElder Posts: 409

    I have to agree with most of these comments. The one that comes closest to asking the question I have is in the first comment by Michael Numan. I'd like to know how involved Agave and the others are in the republican party nationally, in AZ., and in particular, Susana's re-election campaign.

  • pauleichhorn posted at 2:04 am on Mon, Jun 30, 2014.

    pauleichhorn Posts: 3

    The Governor, Susana Martinez is guilty of criminal fraud. She abrogated state contracts under fraudulent terms, violating all due process.

    Ironically, Gary King should be prosecuting her. What's up, Gary? Too busy running for governor to do your job?

  • Jerry Wise posted at 10:54 pm on Sun, Jun 29, 2014.

    sumus Posts: 6

    So as far as the governor is concerned it's Liar, Liar pants on fire. But the press Mr. Reporter needs to find the answer to the question of why? Who got the money? Why? Where did it go and how big a scandal is this. Is it just our governor wanting, sadly to be someone or is it larger. Please let us know.

  • Max Mastellone posted at 10:01 pm on Sun, Jun 29, 2014.

    maxdoc Posts: 3

    [thumbup]. Yes. And unless we the people demand accountability, there will be none. By being passive and complacent we are enabling the Gov.

  • Kenneth Davis posted at 9:50 pm on Sun, Jun 29, 2014.

    concerned and confused Posts: 58

    Should also wondered about the state requiring the agencies in question to take new medicaid patients after the freeze without any reimbursement.

  • Kenneth Davis posted at 9:40 pm on Sun, Jun 29, 2014.

    concerned and confused Posts: 58

    The Martinez administration brought down the behavior health system in a premeditated attack using false accusations of fraud placing over 30,000 new Mexicans lives at risk. The so called fraud was purposeful on incompetent misdirection in billing procedures on the part of the state, HSD and OptumHealth New Mexico all of whom spent years correcting the way billing was done but could not give clear cut guidelines. All 15 agencies had passed numerous audits over the preceding year but failed an audit on commission by a company with a reputation for finding non existent fraud as was the case in their audit in North Carolina. The agencies were replaced by agencies from the home state of both governor Martinez and the secretary of HSD with contracts that paid the CEOs up to six times the salaries of the CEOs they were replacing (nothing suspicious about that?) At this point in time around 20,000 sick people are not receiving care, many have died. This blood is on governor Martinez's hands. It's also on Gary King's hands because he could have stopped this on a constitutionality basis due to the civil rights violations.

  • Peter Neal posted at 9:16 pm on Sun, Jun 29, 2014.

    PeterNeal Posts: 843

    This earth -shaking, Susana - destroying article couldn't even muster 20 of you in the first day? The apathy will guarantee her another term, and plenty of entertaining reading for me on these forums....

  • LEONARD MILES posted at 6:59 pm on Sun, Jun 29, 2014.

    Itsjustalila Posts: 8

    Careful what you say here the Koch brothers maybe keeping track. Arn't the Koch Brothers the independent Contractors being paid to run The National Security Agency.

  • Pam Walker posted at 5:34 pm on Sun, Jun 29, 2014.

    lilbit Posts: 119

    I bet this would just be the tip of the iceberg if they really dug into our govenors affairs. She is crooked as they come.

  • Max Mastellone posted at 5:26 pm on Sun, Jun 29, 2014.

    maxdoc Posts: 3

    Copy link and paste in browser address line:


  • Mel Hayes posted at 4:09 pm on Sun, Jun 29, 2014.

    Hobson Posts: 117

    I tried this search but could not match any documents........

  • Mel Hayes posted at 3:16 pm on Sun, Jun 29, 2014.

    Hobson Posts: 117

    Perfect discription Chris, "Sara Palin with a law degree". [thumbup]

  • Chris E posted at 1:53 pm on Sun, Jun 29, 2014.

    Eugene Ericson Posts: 1

    Steve Terrell hopefully is bird dogging this. Perhaps Pat Malone, Staci Matlock, Phaedra Haywood, and Robert Nott are also digging around

  • Michael Numan posted at 1:35 pm on Sun, Jun 29, 2014.

    mnuman Posts: 23

    Gary King, the Attorney General, is investigating the issue of whether the NM mental healthcare providers that were accused by the Martinez Human Services Dept. actually did anything wrong, and two of these providers have already been cleared. Although this appears to be a slow process, realize that for just one provider, over $30 million of billing have to be carefully reviewed.

    I am not sure who would investigate the hiring of AZ companies prior to any accusations of over billing. Perhaps the AG office could look into this, now that the New Mexican has brought this new information to light. But if King got involved, people would cry politics. Maybe an Asst AG could spearhead such an investigation.

  • Rosemary Blanchard posted at 1:23 pm on Sun, Jun 29, 2014.

    RB Posts: 2

    This is why I subscribe to the SFNM, while living in Albuquerque. The ABQ Journal has been distressingly silent on this whole situation -- both the scent of corruption, the waste of money and the tragic loss of services to New Mexicans in need. This kind of investigative reporting needs to continue. And, AG and Candidate King, will you please get on this case with a little more energy!!?

  • Max Mastellone posted at 12:55 pm on Sun, Jun 29, 2014.

    maxdoc Posts: 3

    As NM citizens whom do we have to turn to when our governor and her/his administration take actions that are clearly against the public interest, clearly unethical and possibly illegal? The State Legislature? The Attorney General? Given they have had a year to act, they have been useless. Who else is there? The politicians are worried about the next election--can't be bothered with matters directly affecting the public. What, then, is our recourse? We should have learned by now that relying on politicians to get the people's work done is generally futile. Shouldn't be that way but it is.
    Governments do what people joined together force them to do. We need to organize and resist, statewide.

  • Michael Numan posted at 12:46 pm on Sun, Jun 29, 2014.

    mnuman Posts: 23

    It would be interesting to investigate whether these Arizona health care companies are or were contributing, directly or indirectly, to the Martinez re-election campaign.

  • Dsecrist posted at 11:51 am on Sun, Jun 29, 2014.

    Dsecrist Posts: 2

    Optum seems to be everywhere, except in the public hearings, of course.

  • Ella NM posted at 11:18 am on Sun, Jun 29, 2014.

    Ella NM Posts: 4

    "As District Attorney she should have known that evidence of wrongdoing is what was needed not suspicion's..."

    OF COURSE she should, but then, this is evidence of just how mediocre a DA she REALLY was. She's from my city, so I can tell you: She is just not that smart, and she was no where NEAR the big, tough DA here campaign ads made her out to be.

  • Ella NM posted at 11:15 am on Sun, Jun 29, 2014.

    Ella NM Posts: 4

    Keep digging, SFNM. This WAS a conspiracy, and I am betting that there was money or political favor exchanged for shutting down these organizations with false accusations of fraud. THIS, I predict, will be the final undoing of a very corrupt and incompetent Governor's career. Thankfully for New Mexico.

  • Kathy Smith posted at 10:37 am on Sun, Jun 29, 2014.

    windwisdom Posts: 1

    Thank you for reporting on this farce perpetuated by the Martinez administration. HSD's report to Medicaid in December noted that 23% less people were receiving services after the transition. There are 60 children in the Mora school district that no longer receive services, and countless others statewide, and now these providers are cutting pay and workers. For shame, Suzanna, for shame!

  • STEVE Solano posted at 10:34 am on Sun, Jun 29, 2014.

    gpa Posts: 20

    I agree with you Eli...good post..Northern NM democrats WAKE UP she is not one of us.

  • STEVE Solano posted at 10:30 am on Sun, Jun 29, 2014.

    gpa Posts: 20

    I too wondered about the timeline of the AZ contractors and the need for such preparations for a rapid take over of services. I too wonder about Agave corporation and Jays relationship to them. Martinez did not do this on her own. As District Attorney she should have known that evidence of wrongdoing is what was needed not suspicion's..before actions were taken. What happened to innocent until proven guilty.

    How much more can we take before impeachment can be started.

    I am looking forward to Phillip Howells defense of Martinez administration now.

  • adam eisman posted at 9:52 am on Sun, Jun 29, 2014.

    pangolinjones Posts: 6

    What does she have to say? And all this says nothing of the harm done--and the neglect of--thousands of struggling children and families.

  • adam eisman posted at 9:46 am on Sun, Jun 29, 2014.

    pangolinjones Posts: 6

    Please keep this story alive with this kind of in-depth reporting, SFNM. What was done by the Martinez administration represents an astonishing breach of public trust. It was an act of dishonesty, ripping us all off and sending millions of dollars out of state, and a kick in the face to organizations doing great and important work for those most in need. Further, families of honest, hard-working people suffered financially. Whom does the Governor stand for? Wat does she have to say about all this?

    This story needs substantial national attention as well. Please, SFNM and its readers, do what you can to bring this issue to the nation at large.

  • Fred Stokes posted at 9:36 am on Sun, Jun 29, 2014.

    fredstokes Posts: 138

    Good research and writing in the New Mexican -- congratulations.

  • Eli Chavez posted at 8:57 am on Sun, Jun 29, 2014.

    Eli Chavez Posts: 27

    Martinez supported and continues to support AZ and their New GOP KKK Party. I miss the Old GOP which was hijacked by the New GOP KKK Party. Martinez and her recorded statement about the "Land of Enhancement" is true. The closing of a New Mexico company also shut down Jobs. The AZ company given up front CASH by the State of NM is scary. Was their any cash under the table coming back? Martinez Likes CASH ($$$$$$$$$$). The New Orleans Mafia paid Martinez upfront cash for the State Fair Casino. Did the upfront money go to the State? Are New Mexicans going to stay home in November and allow Corruption at high levels to continue? It is time to open a complete investigation of Martinez and her administration. Martinez "forgave" her Chief of Staff who used a TAX PAYER CREDIT CARD to further his Enterprise. Can you imagine if a New Mexico State Government Employee would use the mentioned Credit Card. Remember Block from the PRC, he went to Jail. Did Martinez ask Gary King to investigate the theft? Martinez complains about Bill Richardson and his corruption and when the COS used the Credit Card Martinez protected and forgave her Chief of Staff. Martinez that is Corruption. A/G Gary King your Investigators must investigate Martinez and her COS.

  • Diane Senior posted at 7:45 am on Sun, Jun 29, 2014.

    dsenior Posts: 38

    Outrageous but, sadly, not surprising. Thank you for continuing to shine a light on these kinds of questionable practices. Please continue that service with a follow up story on whether this has any impact on the post-term employment opportunities of Martinez administration officials.

  • MarthaR posted at 6:27 am on Sun, Jun 29, 2014.

    MarthaR Posts: 9

    Thank you for sharing this story. Another example of Martinez hurting New Mexicans.
    I knew there was more to this story! It's good to have the facts.


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