Arizona company paid before NM mental health shake-up

Updated: 06/29/2014 5:39 PM | Created: 06/29/2014 2:26 PM
By: The Associated Press

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The state of New Mexico paid at least one Arizona company for salaries, travel and legal fees before it and others were brought in to replace 15 nonprofits that provided behavioral health services to needy New Mexicans.

That's according to documents obtained by The New Mexican.

The newspaper found the state paid Agave Health Inc. more than $172,000 over six months, and half of that was disbursed prior to an audit being done on the nonprofits.

The audit spurred the Martinez administration to shake up the state's mental health system in 2013 by stripping the nonprofits of their contracts over allegations of fraud, mismanagement and billing problems.

Records show the state proceeded to pay Agave over the next several months at higher rates than the ousted providers had received.

A Human Services Department spokesman defended the payments.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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