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October 31, 2012

New Mexico Department of Health Finds a Way to Award Contracts to a Suspended Medicaid Provider Suspected of Fraud

Dr. Babak Mirin: savvy or deceptive businessman?
In our previous post we made reference to the Request for Proposal (RFP) the New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) put out for psychiatric services.  One of the seven accepted bids were from New Mexico Psychiatric Services (NMPS) who scored second lowest among all bidders and had the second highest cost at $250 an hour, nearly $100 over most competitive bids.  We also discussed NMPS's accepted proposal and the DOH contracts that were not awarded to NMPS but Healing Gardens Medical Management Inc. which is surely a procurement violation because Healing Garden was not a bidder. Both companies list Dr. Babak Mirin as director in the New Mexico Public Regulatory Commission (NMPRC) filings.  Sounds fishy?  You bet!

Earlier this month NMPS filed a lawsuit against New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD).   In NM case number D-101-CV-201202787,  NMCourts.gov listed the  complaint for "Declaratory Judgment and Violation of the Inspection of Public Records Act" (IPRA).   Sounds innocent enough, right?  Originally, we thought so too.  After some thought we decided that there must be something there so we did some digging.  We manged to get our hands on the entire complaint filed by NMPS's attorney.  It turns out that HSD's Medical Assistance Division (MAD) sent NMPS a certified letter that may just be the answer to the Healing Gardens vs NMPS question.


In the letter dated February 20,2012, marked as exhibit A,  HSD placed a Medicaid payment suspension on NMPS because there was "a credible allegation of fraud for which an investigation is pending."  In a later letter HSD/MAD refers NMPS to the New Mexico Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU).

Here is the entire court complaint.

Here are the Exhibits from the complaint for your reading pleasure.





NMPS and Dr. Babak Mirin did us a great favor by including documents in filing suit against HSD.  For that we thank them.

It would be difficult for NMPS to get a lucrative contract at Sequoyah Adolescent Treatment Center with a Medicaid payment suspension in effect.  In fact it would be impossible.  Solution?  Create a new company that is not suspended from receiving Medicaid payments.   So, in May 2012 Healing Gardens Medical Management Inc. is born!  Ah, now we are thinking.   Now, how do we get Healing Gardens to get awarded contracts based on NMPS's proposal?  That is the truly baffling part.  How does company A have their proposal accepted but company B get to use company A's proposal to get awarded a contract?  Certainly sounds a bit underhanded. Anyone in Contracts at DOH want to give us an answer? 

Dr. Babak Mirin and his NMPRC Filings

Dr. Babak Mirin is president and CEO/Director of Healing Garden Medical Management Inc., New Mexico Psychiatric Services Corporation (NMPS), Sunrise Psychiatric Management Company, NM Mental Health Management Company, Chaves County Medical Management Company and Suspended Eastern New Mexico Mental Health, Inc.
Of all of the businesses listed under Dr. Mirin with the NMPRC as of 10/27/2012, only NMPS is listed as in good standing.  Healing Garden has a contract to provide services at Sequoyah Adolescent Treatment Center without ever submitting a bid response to the New Mexico Department of Health's (DOH) Request for Proposal (RFP).  Why is DOH doing business with a company that is not in good standing with NMPRC?


Other Court Cases

While we were looking into Dr. Babak Mirin's suit with HSD we thought we would also check out a wrongful death suit where Mirin is listed as a defendant. 

Here is the complaint. Have a read.  Keep in mind that the case is pending in the courts..





Statutes Regarding RFPs



When reading through the state statutes regarding procurement, I couldn't find the part where you can select a completely different company to award contracts to who didn't make any offer whatsoever. The wording of the statute says, "An award shall be made to the responsible offeror whose proposal is most advantageous to a state agency, taking into consideration the evaluation factors set forth in the RFP."  It sounds like the interpretation of "most advantageous to a state agency" sort of got lost in translation somewhere along the way because a high price for services does not sound advantageous to the taxpayer.

The Santa Fe Reporter's Joey Peters wrote a story about Sequoyah that printed in today's SFR edition.

If you have anything to add, please share your comments below.

This is post a part of a multi-part series investigating issues at Sequoyah Adolescent Treatment Center.


42 comments:

  1. Great job JP. On the surface this would appear to be a procurement violation. A violation of the state procurement statute. More importantly, GSD would have to have been ordered by the Governors Office to allow Healing Gardens to be awarded a contract they didn't bid on. Where is the transparency Gov. Martinez?

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  2. Holy Crap! Something about this must be illegal! This is a dirty dealing if I had ever seen one. How does this even happen? Anyone? Bernice? Anyone?

    Great work Jonathan!

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    1. I know that Bernice has continually violated the procurement code. I've even heard of her using PHD Bureaus money (Immunizations)to buy things at the end of fiscal years. Just curious though, would this type of contract flow through the Santa Fe Contracts Bureau? Regardless, will the State Auditor's office be looking into this situation Johnathan? By the way excellent investigative reporting. Larry Barker style. Good job!!

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    2. We certainly hope so and will try to contact his office. Since procurement is not state policy but state law, we hope to get the attention of the Attorney General's office as well.

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  3. Just one more example of why a corrupt organization like DOH and the Governor's office needs Bernice and her ilk to carry out illegal acts, while honest employees are retaliated against.

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  4. Great work indeed! Now I'm starting to wonder if that Dr. Ulwelling (who is the Psychiatrist petitioning to have PTSD removed from the approved list of medical conditions for the NM Cannabis Program) is somehow tied in with this Babak Mirin. Anybody gone down this trail? Seems scented.

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  5. Perhaps the answer to all of the questions is very simple- ROSWELL!!

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  6. I think governor martinez has a lot of explaining to do. In the meantime, this criminal psychiatrist needs to immediately be removed from caring for vulnerable kids.

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    Replies
    1. I agree. Mirin needs to be removed from all contracts with DOH.

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  7. If the government tells you cannot own or possess a firearm because you are on probation, a felon or what ever reason, you cannot simply change your name so you can purchase a firearm. Same applies to New Mexico Psychiatric and Babak Mirin. Shame on you!

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  8. Waiting for the day when they walk out Mirin.......

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  9. ...who hopefully will hold the door open for Ms. Westbrook.

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  10. Johnatahn, Brad McGrath is behind this whole thing. I was at a meeting where Dr. Mirin's group was introduced. They initially were payed $50,000 to get their foot in the door at NMRC. Dr. Mirin was pretty much promised at that point in time that no matter what he would be awarded the RFP. Brad was determined to push it though no matter what it took.

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    Replies
    1. Please email johnathan with details!!!

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    2. Why would Brad McGrath risk his job and reputation to do this? Is he getting a kick-back?

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  11. SATC employees, particularly direct care staff, are among the most dedicated and hardest working people I have ever worked with. Since Dr. Babak Mirin came in, they have become powerless to do their jobs, their voices are not heard (for those who dared to speak, Dr. Mirin (a mere contractor) had the power with Ms. Westbrook to have them wrongfully terminated). Many others have had their jobs threatened by Dr. Mirin. I don't know why this man, who speaks so disrespectfully of these staff, has been given this power. We have always thought he was in it for the money, and still think that. Shame on you Anita Westbrook for being more concerned about how your offices looked and getting your office walls painted than taking the time to learn about your staff and the special program SATC is. Shame on you.

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  12. Carlsbad Mental Health was raided by investigators as part of attorney general's investigation of Medicaid fraud. Dr. Mirin was associated with them for a long time. Hmmmmm. Perhaps SATC's billing practices should be looked into, especially since Mirin has been suspended as a Medicaid provider! Why would a provider who has been suspended by Medicaid be designated as Medical Director as a Medicaid funded facility?

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  13. From Rate MD's: http://www.ratemds.com/doctor-ratings/134783/Dr-Babak-Mirin-CARLSBAD-NM.html

    9/5/11 1 3 1 1 Dr Mirin is the worst Dr I have ever been to. He wants complete controll and gets angry if you don't like the meds. He also threathened to have me taken to court if I did not take the meds. I have never gone back and people need to keep away from him , his Clinic and the Mental Hospital he is in charge of. He did more harm to me and my famly than any other time during my treatment. He is from another country and manybe his trainging thier gave him the idea that he can treat anyone like this. He also does this to women more than men. I hope he is not allowed to remain inpractice and more people report him and the other terrible Dr's he is in Business with. GO TO ANOTHER CLINIC! Respond
    1475565
    Click to report rating
    6/29/11 3 1 1 5 When I asked about naturopathic forms of dealing with insomnia and depression, he told me that he would put me in the state mental hospital (Las Vegas, NM) if I used alternative medicine. Although you can tell that he loves his children, he has a hard time with adults of other religions and beliefs about proper health care.

    Respond
    1456058
    Click to report rating
    6/2/11 1 1 1 1 loves to give meds and changes them one after another, with no chance for drugs to clear your body before next drug.

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    1. This makes me think he is the one (along with his buddy Brad) who solicited Dr. Ulwelling to submit the petition to have PTSD removed from the cannabis program. How many lawsuits are there going to be over that one? The State is going to go broke just because of lawsuits against this administration. Geez.

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    2. Clearly these patients' reviews of Dr. Mirin - done long before he came to SATC - capture this man's personality disorder. SATC staff have described him in the exact same way! We are not as uneducated and ignorant as Dr. Mirin openly describes us.
      We've got Dr. Mirin figured out!

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  14. I can't imagine our governor would tolerate this if she knew!

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    1. You think she does not know???? HAHAHAHAHA she can claim ignorance up until the day this information came out here. We all know the big-wigs in Santa Fe read this site everyday! Get to fixing it, Gov. Martinez, before this gets you impeached!!

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    2. So why would the Governor and others in Santa Fe put their reputations on the line for some crooked psychiatrist?

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    3. Money?????

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  15. This guy is a crook! What the heck is going on?

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  16. This is unbelievable! Is there really more to report? How could this be any worse?

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  17. I am glad the attorney general is investigating that psychiatrist - he sounds awful!

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  18. I am new to New Mexico. Has the state government always been so corrupt, or just since Susana Martinez became governor? Incredible!

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  19. When does Mirin get walked out? Its time to Sequoyah to get back to work to help the kids. This guy needs to be unemployed so he can manage all his legal problems.

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  20. DOH hasnt stopped doing business with this guy yet after all this?

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  21. Since Medicaid is a state/federal program, I think the feds should be notified. Okay, I'll do it.

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  22. Anyone who knows Babak Mirin knows he is complete slime. He has screwed over so many people throughout the Southwest, he is a greedy unscrupulous man who only cares about $$$$$$$$$$$. He is not only a horrible Doctor but he is also a horrible human being!

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    Replies
    1. if you are not a SATC employee and could provide some further info, please send Johnathan Publix an anonymous email with details. Thank you.

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    2. If you have information about Dr. Mirin that could assist the AG's office, you can call them and speak to them confidentially as others have.

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  23. I am a DOH employee and I wasn't surprised when I first read this then later read the newspaper. This guy seems so crooked! Is it true that he is a friend of the governor? Won't that hurt her?

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  24. So, Mirin gets notice on 2/20/12 that New Mexico Psychiatric Services is suspended from state Medicaid payments due to suspected Medicaid fraud. What does Mirin do (besides continuing to submit monthly invoices and receive payment anyway)? He incorporates Healing Garden on March 15, 2012 so he can have a clean company to obtain state contracts under.
    So obviously dirty that I am sure the Attorney General won't have any problem convicting. But it is an entirely different question why the state continues to do business with him.

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    1. Brad had a meeting with NMRC staff on 2/27/12 to introduce Dr. Mirin and his group. Shortly after that we were told that Dr. Black (one of Dr. Mirin's Psch)would be the new physician on our chemical dep unit. A $50000 contract was initially written to cover their expenses until the big contract was put in place. Our facility then started having more problems then it had ever had with patients leaving against medical advice. The whole entire program is now one big joke under the direction of Dr. Mirin. Dr. Black quit his practice and is no longer working for Dr. Mirin so we get the Pschs from Sunrise.

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    2. What are the names of the psychiatrists now there? Can you be specific on the problems? Are there violations?

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    3. Word is out at NMRC that Mirin wants only one nurse and a med tech on duty on chemical dependency unit instead of two nurses. A med tech is less likely to question Mirin. Since nurses have recently been fired for speaking up about the muddiness of restraint policies and complete lack of a wound care protocol, even the nurses are wary of questioning a physician. More bad times ahead for NMRC. Too bad cause there are some very dedicated employees. Some have likened it to a reign of terror.

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    4. "Reign of terror" is also the description used at SATC about Dr. Mirin. If there are any known violations at NMRC, please notify the appropriate oversight agencies. That is what helped correct Mirin's wrongdoings at SATC. Of course, it is still wrong that he is at any DOH facility, but that will change.

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    5. I think that DOH needs to look into how many hours Mirin and is crew claim that they are at the facilities versus when they are actually there. For some reason Mirin does not have to punch in the contractor's timeclock, although former contract psychiatrists and other doctor's do. My guess is he (and his many subcontractors)is billing for many more hours than he actually is there.

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