Here’s a look at today’s headlines:
Sen. Howie Morales, and former Rep. Rodolpho “Rudy” Martinez have formed a Mental Health Task Force to address the impact that could occur with the threatened withdrawal from southwest New Mexico of La Frontera, a provider of mental health services. A couple of years ago, many behavioral and mental health providers across the state of New Mexico were blind-sided by being accused of Medicaid fraud in their billing and having their funding removed, but never given the opportunity for due process. At the time, the state brought La Frontera from Arizona into southwest New Mexico to provide help to clients in need of behavioral health services. Now, according to reports, La Frontera accuses the state of not reimbursing the agency for services provided and has threatened to pull out of the region. Howie and Rudy put a group together from people participating in behavioral health in the region to explore strategically how to prepare the region in case of a La Frontera departure.
Gila Regional Medical Center recently announced the opening of Gila Family Medicine, located in the La Montano Plaza on 32nd Street. Dr. John Stanley, MD, and Cynthia Moreno, CNP, will offer the community additional convenience and accessibility to receiving high quality medical care, according to GRMC CEO Brian Cunningham. The practice focuses on treating the whole family, with special attention to patient involvement for improving overall wellness and health.
The USDA is urging producers who want to purchase coverage through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program to do so before the sales closing dates of March 15th and April 15th. The program provides assistance to producers of noninsurable crops when low yields/grazing loss, loss of inventory or prevented planting occur due to natural disasters including drought, freeze, hail, excessive moisture, excessive wind, or hurricanes. The following crops in New Mexico are included in the program: beans, potatoes, dry peas, sorgum, corn, soybeans, cotton, squash, guar, sunflowers, millet, tomatoes, basil, gourds, beets, honeydew, broccoli, okra, cantaloupe, pumpkins, cauliflower, strawberries, cilantro, turnips, eggplant and watermelon.
According to Federal officials, planted chile acreage in New Mexico dropped 10 percent last year. In 2014, the final production numbers were 58,700 tons of chile, down from 65,000 in 2013. Farmers blame the drop on drought, labor shortages and market changes.