Former health provider sues over New Mexico mental health shakeup

Stephen Hemsley
FILE - In this April 29, 2014 file photo, Stephen Hemsley, president and CEO of UnitedHealth Group, announces 75 jobs are being created within the company’s subsidiary, Optum, which works in health care services and technology support, in Southfield, Mich. Hemsley offered a mea culpa Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015 for his company’s decision to dive deeper into the Affordable Care Act’s public insurance exchanges, a move that ultimately forced the nation’s largest health insurer to cut its earnings forecast. (AP Photo)

LAS CRUCES (AP) – A former behavioral health provider in southern New Mexico is suing a company that once managed the state’s Medicaid dollars.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that La Frontera’s lawsuit alleges United Healthcare engineered a cover-up of its own failings by accusing 15 nonprofit providers of fraud in 2013.

The lawsuit accuses United Healthcare and its subsidiary OptumHealth New Mexico of fraud and misrepresentation that led to La Frontera losing millions of dollars.

Arizona-based La Frontera had been brought in to replace some of the nonprofits that were accused of overbilling and possible fraud. Its lawsuit focuses on the first six months that it operated in southern New Mexico.

Optum spokeswoman Lauren Mihajlov says the company couldn’t comment on the pending litigation.

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