After months of silence on allegations of fraud that prompted the termination of Medicaid payments to New Mexico behavioral health providers, Attorney General Gary King on Thursday says investigators found no fraud on the part of one of the providers. King conceded that the Counseling Center of Alamogordo did improperly bill Medicaid for 19-thousand dollars in services, but maintains it was not a fraudulent over-billing. For its part, the state Human Services Department says it will do its own investigation and maintains the total funds involved are higher.
New Mexico Senator Tom Udall, voted with the majority Thursday as the Senate in voted in favor of major appropriations bill that will Udall says will support New Mexico priorities, and help grow the New Mexico’s economy and sustain jobs. However, the Democrat noted that a major source of funds for New Mexico--The Federal Payment in lieu of taxes or PILT program—was not included in the bill:*****011714-Udall-1 :18***** If a fix is not found, Counties around New Mexico will receive $34 million less funding in 2014.
Farmers and ranchers in 27 New Mexico counties—including Santa Fe County--who have recorded losses due to the drought will now be able to apply for federal emergency loans. New Mexico's congressional delegation made the announcement this week. Although severe drought is markedly reduced from a year ago, more than half of New Mexico is rated at moderate or worse. One month ago, snow-pack figures in the Sangre de Cristos, Jemez and Rio Chama basin were above 100-percent of normal. Those figures now range from 52 – 79-percent.
The Chairman of the Santa Fe Democratic Party says next weekend's pre-primary delegate elections and convention are a big step for political hopefuls. Richard Ellenberg notes that elected delegates will attend the state convention in Albuquerque in March. Ellenberg notes that the delegates are important, because candidates for state and federal positions will be seeking their approval. *****0117-Ellenberg-3 :29***** Ellenberg says both the pre-primary delegation selection and convention will be held next Saturday at the Center for Progress and Development on Cerrillos Road.
Next Tuesday, the first day of this year’s legislative session, will see the release of the 2014 New Mexico Kids Count data book. In last year’s Kids Count rankings, New Mexico fell to last place in child well being. In conjunction with the release, New Mexico Voices for Children, will launch their NM KIDS are COUNTing on Us Campaign, aiming to prompt state lawmakers to act to improve child well-being.
Santa Fe Weather: Sunny today, with a high near 49. Tonight, Mostly clear, with a low around 21. Tomorrow: Sunny, with a high near 48.