ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Patients, their families, and employees working with mental health and substance abuse providers said Tuesday they are fearful and upset about how the state has handled an audit showing more than a dozen providers possibly abusing the system.
A mother whose son suffers with a mental illness said she is worried service will be disrupted.
"I am fearful as a parent," said Gay Finlayson. "This is a fragile system with fragile, fragile people and we need to support that and what has happened has not been supported, at least not to my family at all."
A five-month state audit exposed mismanagement, fraud, waste and abuse among 15 mental health and substance abuse providers across the state.
The state said companies over-billed taxpayers by $36 million.
So, the state's Human Services Department froze Medicaid payments to those companies Including two in Albuquerque: Pathways Inc. and Hogares Mental Health Center where Tuesday's news conference was held.
The state is paying more than $15 million to an Arizona company to train and oversee the agencies.
Once new management is in place , Medicaid payments will be restored. In the meantime, those companies must still provide services to patients.
The governor says state action is necessary to avoid corruption.
"Approximately $36 million are not going to those who deserve it and need it the most. Instead, [the money] was lost, misused, misspent, stolen. We're not going to put up with that," said Gov. Susana Martinez.
Attorney General Gary King refused to release the audit publicly because his office, along with the FBI, are still investigating to see if anyone will be charged criminally.
Crews are on scene of a crash involving a pedestrian at Broadway and Lomas. Officials have closed eastbound Lomas at the intersection.
New Mexico honored a fallen hero Thursday as family, friends and law enforcement officers gathered for the funeral of Sandoval County Sheriff's Sergeant Robert Baron.
The repeat drunk driver who caused a crash that ultimately led to the death of an unborn baby is going to prison.
New Mexicans will have a chance to see the latest version of NASA's Orion spacecraft as it takes a road trip through the state as part of a four-week journey from Virginia to California.
A wish has come true for a Rio Grande High School student battling leukemia.
The Albuquerque NAACP said Thursday it backs the decision to fire the state police officer who shot at minivan full of kids, and the organization adds he's not the only officer who should be disciplined.