SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – News recently broke that some developmentally disabled patients within New Mexico’s healthcare system may have been abused. Already, the state is looking into the issue, but some state legislators want federal investigators to get involved.
While the full scope of the problem is still unknown, the New Mexico Governor’s Office has said there was at least one “alleged case of extreme abuse and neglect” tied to the state’s Developmental Disabilities Wavier program, intended to help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The state uncovered more alleged incidents soon after.
The New Mexico Department of Health has already terminated the contracts of some service providers. Also, dozens of state employees have been conducting in-person wellness checks on every single individual served by the program, according to the governor’s office.
Now, a handful of New Mexico’s legislators have asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General Christi Grimm to step in as well. In a letter signed by Republicans Ryan Lane (Aztec), Greg Nibert (Roswell), and Gail Armstrong (Magdalena), they asked the federal inspector to start an “expedited” investigation into whether or not federal dollars were misused and whether or not providers violated federal rules regarding care.
The letter notes that while the state is already looking into the allegations, a federal investigation could not only provide increased transparency but could also “preclude the inevitable possibility that the New Mexico Department of Health will fail to take necessary steps to prevent such cases in the future.”
Matt Garcia-Sierra, a spokesperson for New Mexico House Republicans, clarified that the letter is a request for independent oversight of the New Mexico departments involved in the issue. KRQE News 13 reached out to the OIG. They confirmed that they received the letter but were unable to provide any information on whether or not there would be an investigation.