Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Auditor Filings: Gov. Martinez Administration Altered Audit, Used Altered Findings to Justify Cancelation of State Contracts

For Immediate Release
Nov. 26, 2013

Contact: Patrick Davis

Auditor Filings: Gov. Martinez Administration Altered Audit, Used Altered Findings to Justify Cancelation of State Contracts
Motivations increasingly questioned after article shows political operative approves and pushed major policy issues

Albuquerque -- New revelations from New Mexico’s State Auditor appear to show that the administration of Governor Martinez altered the findings of an audit, removing a finding that “no credible allegations of fraud” existed among the state’s behavioral health providers, and then publicly announced that the audit had uncovered just that.
PROGRESSNOWNM, a non-profit progressive advocacy group, first cried foul on October 23, 2013 when a heavily redacted copy of the audit was
PN Post
released.  At least one unredacted portion included the auditors’ finding that, "PCG's Case File audit did not uncover what it would consider to be credible allegations of fraud, nor any significant concerns related to consumer safety." (Audit, p. 22, Section 4.6)
The question of “credible allegations of fraud” is critical because it is the legal threshold, under federal law, which must be met before a state can cancel Medicaid provider funds.  
In court filings today, State Auditor Hector Balderas noted that a version of the audit released by the administration through the Human Services Department had that conclusion removed.  After announcing that the audit, which they have repeatedly refused to release to the public or the providers targeted, had found "credible allegations of fraud" (see NPR interview, Sept 2013) they promptly canceled state contracts with those in-state non-profit providers and replaced them with Arizona-based providers selected without bid.

Patrick Davis, Executive Director of ProgressNowNM, on the revelations:

“Government should not work in secret and it has no right to create its own facts, no matter how many millions of taxpayer dollars they wasted trying to do it.
So far, we know that the governor’s administration paid $3 million to a firm to create a crisis where none existed and when that didn’t work, they altered the audit and used altered facts to justify actions they intended to take all along. Not only was there no fraud, but the auditor they hired said there wasn't so they just erased that fact and inserted their own. 
As the governor herself likes to say, this is unacceptable and we deserve the full truth. And now."
PROGRESSNOWNM joins dozens of legislators and hundreds of patients and providers who call for a full accounting of the secret process used to turn New Mexico non-profit companies over to these new Arizona competitors.

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