Citing Negligence, Demand Meeting with Governor Richardson to Discuss Solutions
SANTA FE, N.M.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- New Mexico's healthcare disparity might just get worse - a hard concept to fathom given that the State has some of the most underserved areas in the country. The New Mexico Behavioral Health Collaborative, started by Governor Bill Richardson in 2004 to address "the way in which the [behavioral health] services are paid for and delivered," is coming under heavy fire from doctors around the State. The Collaborative has statutory authority and has been given broad powers that often surpass even department heads. But doctors in rural New Mexico are angered that they have never been consulted.
Largest Psychiatric Physician Group in State Leads Protest
The largest psychiatric physician group in the State, New Mexico Psychiatric Services, serves some of the most underserved areas in New Mexico, with offices in many towns in Southwestern New Mexico as well as Santa Fe. More than two dozen psychiatrists and primary care doctors around New Mexico to oppose the proposed policies have joined it. The doctors claim that the Collaborative left doctors out of the process and has pursued policies that are potentially adverse to the well being of mental health patients all over the State.
Dr. Joe Frechan, a psychiatrist who has worked in every corner of New Mexico for more than twenty-five years and is well respected by both doctors and patients alike, has spoken out publicly. "Just when we think mental health in New Mexico can't get any worse, we find our own government enacting policies for nearly six years that guarantee taxpayer money goes to mental health agencies with little of the expertise and clinical knowledge that physician specialists possess. Throughout the state health system, they willingly ignore those who form the core of medical expertise for diagnosing and treating mental illness the world over. It is beyond irresponsible -- it is negligent."
Dr. Dave Durham, Managing Partner of The Mosaic Neuroscience Group based in Santa Fe, believes the Collaborative may have been misled. "It is very possible that the CEO was given information that was one-sided and germinated by the local area behavioral health collaboratives,” he said.
“It happens all the time in government, but unfortunately in this case it will be very bad for patients in the end. It might even push many psychiatrists to leave, which would decimate rural psychiatric medical care in the State.
“Despite their anger, the doctors hope to meet with Governor Richardson and officials from the New Mexico Department of Health to discuss potential solutions.”
Marie Carella, 212-505-1253
KEYWORDS: United States North America New Mexico
INDUSTRY KEYWORDS: Practice Management Health Public Policy/Government Healthcare Reform Mental Health Other Policy Issues Public Policy State/Local General Health