It's been nearly four years since the administration of Gov. Susana Martinez stopped Medicaid payments to 15 nonprofits providing behavioral health services, accusing them of millions of dollars in fraud. The organizations were eventually cleared of wrongdoing by the Attorney General, but many had gone out of business. What is the state of mental health care in New Mexico now? This week on New Mexico in Focus, correspondent Megan Kamerick begins a month-long series on behavioral health services for New Mexicans. 

New Mexico PBS’ one-hour public affairs show New Mexico in Focus regularly airs Fridays at 7 p.m. and repeats Sundays at 7 a.m. on Channel 5.1, and Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. on Channel 9.1, except during Pledge Drives.

Correspondent Russell Contreras sits down with photographer Maria Varela to talk about her experience photographing voting rights demonstrations in Alabama. Varela also discusses her efforts to create Head Start programs in poor, rural areas of the American South during the Civil Rights movement. She has an exhibit up right now in the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago.

Host Gene Grant and this week’s Line opinion panelists discuss the recent special session, jobs that are going unfilled in New Mexico, and the cost of security services for an event with Milo Yiannopoulos on the UNM campus earlier this year.  

Studio Guests

  • State Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino
  • Maggie McCowen, executive director, New Mexico Behavioral Health Providers Association
  • Elise Padilla, fellow, National Latino Behavioral Health Association
  • Natalie Smith, therapist and executive director, Awake and Aware
  • Maria Varela, photographer

Line Panelists

  • Elaine Baumgartel, news director, KUNM
  • Dan Boyd, capitol bureau chief, Albuquerque Journal
  • Andy Lyman, reporter, NM Political Report
  • Inez Russel Gomez, opinion page editor, Santa Fe New Mexican


  • Russell Contreras & Megan Kamerick

New Mexico in Focus is New Mexico PBS’ prime-time news magazine show covering the events, issues, and people that are shaping life in New Mexico and the Southwest. Hosted by Gene Grant, New Mexico in Focus takes a multi-layered look at social, political, economic, health, education and arts issues and explores them in-depth, with a critical eye to give them context beyond the "news of the moment.”

The producer of New Mexico in Focus is Sarah Gustavus with Kathy Wimmer, associate producer. NM PBS Public Affairs executive producer is Kevin McDonald.

Funding for New Mexico in Focus is provided in part by the McCune Charitable Foundation.

Involved, informed, in-depth media: watch New Mexico in Focus again online shortly thereafter.

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