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[15 Aug 2011 | No Comment | ]
Hispanic Cultural Foundation told to return additional $147,000 of state fresco funds (UPDATED)

State officials demanded Monday that the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) Foundation return another $147,000 of $812,500 in state funds that had been intended for completion of a fresco of New Mexico history.

The Foundation had already surrendered more than $138,000 in March.

Auditors did not ask to see Foundation bank statements for the account into which state funds were deposited, State Auditor’s Office Chief of Staff Evan Blackstone said Monday evening.

Featured, Government, Headline, Health, News, Open Government, Uncategorized »

[8 Aug 2011 | No Comment | ]
Emergency Room co-pays ‘just one idea’ for N.M. Medicaid overhaul, HSD spokesman says

Proposed patient fees for emergency room visits sparked concern among American Indian tribal representatives at a meeting with state Medicaid officials last week.

Such measures would create new barriers to American Indians’ access to health care, several tribal officials said.

But patient co-pays are “just one idea” being considered by the Governor’s Medicaid overhaul team, Human Services Department spokesman Matt Kennicott said Monday.

If adopted, co-pays would be imposed on a sliding scale, he said.

Featured, Government, Headline, Health, News, Open Government »

[6 Aug 2011 | No Comment | ]
Tribal representatives concerned about Medicaid overhaul

Human Services Department (HSD) Cabinet Secretary Sidonie “Sidney” Squier got a skeptical reception at her meeting Wednesday with representatives from New Mexico Indian tribes, several of whom voiced concern that her agency’s Medicaid overhaul would create new barriers to American Indians’ access to health care.

HSD has contracted with Alicia Smith & Associates for $1.7 million to redesign the state’s Medicaid health insurance program for people with low incomes or disabilities, and to prepare the state’s application for a “global Medicaid waiver” that Squier said would allow HSD to run the program with less federal oversight and more flexibility.

Education, Featured, Government, Headline, News »

[3 Aug 2011 | No Comment | ]
Thousands of N.M. families await child care assistance

The New Mexico Child Care Assistance Program’s waiting list, established in January 2010, has swelled to include more than 5,800 low-income families.

State Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) officials will meet with the Legislative Finance Committee in Red River August 17 to explain plans to address the problem.

Breaking news, Featured, Government, Headline, News, Open Government »

[2 Aug 2011 | No Comment | ]
Criminal charges reinstated against PRC Commissioner Block and his father

The New Mexico Court of Appeals reinstated criminal charges Tuesday against Public Regulation Commission (PRC) vice chair Jerome Block Jr. and his father and former PRC commissioner, Jerome Block, Sr.

The pair face charges ranging from embezzlement and election code violations to evidence tampering, stemming from Block Jr.’s misuse of public campaign funds during his 2008 bid for a seat on the powerful commission.

Featured, Government, Headline, Investigation, News, Open Government »

[26 Jul 2011 | No Comment | ]
Industry-funded group drafted N.M. lawmakers’ bills on climate change, hospital liability, health insurance

State lawmakers regularly introduce legislation written by the influential but little-known American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a largely industry-funded group with ties to tobacco, health care and oil corporations, legislators acknowledged Tuesday.
New Mexico lawmakers introduced several bills drafted by ALEC during the regular 2011 legislative session, Veritas NM found. The bills included proposed laws to limit lawsuits against hospitals, reduce regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, and increase penalties for shoplifting. (See below.)
Corporations pay ALEC up to $25,000 apiece in annual membership fees and up to another $10,000 for their representatives …

Featured, Government, Headline, Investigation, Labor, Open Government »

[19 Jul 2011 | No Comment | ]
Hispanic Cultural Foundation pays $5,000 fine for lobbying violations

The National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC)’s private fundraising foundation has paid a $5,000 fine ordered by Secretary of State Dianna J. Duran, state Bureau of Elections Director Bobbi Shearer confirmed Tuesday.
The NHCC Foundation will not contest the fine for violations of the state lobbying law, and “will endeavor to meet all requirements of the Lobbyist Regulation Act in the future,” attorney Brad L. Hays told Duran in a July 14 letter accompanying a $5,000 check.
The Foundation has also now registered as a lobbying entity for 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011, …

Featured, Government, Headline, Health, News, Open Government »

[12 Jul 2011 | No Comment | ]
Many female veterans’ PTSD caused by military rapes, not combat

An estimated 3,500 New Mexican female veterans have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a psychological syndrome commonly tied to combat. The vast majority of them were traumatized not by war, however, but by sexual assaults by fellow servicemen, according to New Mexico Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care System officials.
“Eighty to 90 percent” of the state’s female veterans with PTSD identify military sexual assault as their traumatic experience, VA Stress Disorder Treatment Team Coordinator Diane T. Castillo told Veritas New Mexico.
Women veterans are up to 10 percent more likely than males to …

Breaking news, Featured, Government, Headline, Open Government »

[1 Jul 2011 | No Comment | ]
State will release EPA air radiation monitoring data from Las Conchas fire

According to the New Mexico Environment Department, the state will post online all radiation monitoring data from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air pollution-measuring equipment now deployed around the 103,800-acre Las Conchas fire near Los Alamos.
But it may require more than a week to do so, because of the time required to accurately analyze air filter samples, Department spokesman Jim Winchester and others said Friday.
“The scientific analysis of the filter requires several days to get the most accurate count of atmospheric elements,” Winchester said. “The air sample monitoring data will be on …

Featured, Headline, Health, News, Peter St. Cyr »

[2 Jun 2011 | No Comment | ]
Chavez sees ‘crisis’ at UNM Hospital; cites staff intimidation

© Veritas New Mexico
A state lawmaker is urging the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and the school’s Board of Regents to investigate allegations of systematic intimidation and retaliation against doctors and healthcare workers who report patient quality of care issues to management.
“There is a crisis at our flagship institution and those in charge cannot continue to bury their heads in the sand,” Rep. Eleanor Chavez (D-Albuquerque) wrote in a letter to UNM Hospital administrators Wednesday.
Chavez sponsored legislation earlier this year to offer whistleblower protections to hospital physicians and …