We assume that at some point in the not-too-distant future, all of the evidence regarding the alleged fraud by state mental health care facilities will be made public and we will be able to judge for ourselves if the action taken by the state to freeze funding for those facilities was justified.
Unfortunately, all we have to judge by thus far is the broad outline of allegations made by the auditing firm Public Consulting Group Inc., which alleges more than $36 million in overpayments to 15 providers during a three-year period. A request by journalists with New Mexico In Depth for the full audit was denied last month by the Attorney General's Office.
"As your request pertains to an active investigation, we have prudently withheld some documentation that is protected from disclosure under the Law Enforcement Records Exception," the AG's Office said in a letter denying the request.
We're not certain how prudent it is to continue to keep the state's taxpayers in the dark as to the complete dismantling of its mental health system. The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government has questioned how a financial audit can be withheld under the exemption in the Open Records Law that applies to police reports. Beyond that, we don't believe release of the report will in any way prevent the Attorney General's Office from conducting a complete and thorough investigation.
—Las Cruces Sun News, Aug. 4