About half were laid off to reduce expenses; the rest were fired for "performance issues," according to Dan Ranieri, the Tucson, Ariz.-based CEO for La Frontera New Mexico.
Another six workers, including two "director level" staffers, have resigned since mid-March, Ranieri
has lost about $200,000 per month since January, which prompted last week's decision to reduce staff, Ranieri
added that he
believes the firm will break even by the end of May.
The loss of those 26 positions decreases La Frontera's New Mexico workforce to 344, a 14 percent reduction from the 400 people La Frontera inherited last summer when the firm took over for six New Mexico behavioral health service providers, Ranieri
And more layoffs could be possible.
confirmed La Frontera
has given notice it will not renew the lease of a Las Cruces facility that provides transitional housing to mental health clients when the lease expires at the end of June.
The facility employs 10 people.
The nonrenewal notice was "precautionary," Ranieri
said services to clients wouldn't decrease because of last week's layoffs and firings.
added it was his
belief that the health organizations La Frontera replaced after last year's audit were "overstaffed" in some areas.
The workforce reductions merely brought staffing levels in line with the amount of services provided, although Ranieri
could not pinpoint the number of clients La Frontera currently serves.
An HSD report with December data said that the number of consumers served by La Frontera
grew 42.5 percent, compared to the number served by its predecessors - from 2,915 pre-transition to 4,154 clients afterward.
"The most pertinent issue is the amount of valid services delivered, and basically we staff based on the amount of services we produce," Ranieri
"And the amount of service we produced since we've been here is not enough to justify all the staff."
said La Frontera
would not want to reduce services to clients in part because what the company collects from Medicaid
, the government's health insurance program for low-income patients, is based on the amount of services it provides to clients.
"First of all, that's the wrong thing to do and, second, that's how we get paid," Ranieri
Last week's layoffs occurred on Good Friday, following a face-to-face meeting April 17 in Santa Fe in which Ranieri
informed Human Service Department officials of the staff reduction plan.
Employees who provide direct services to clients are expected to provide about 100 hours of service per month, Ranieri
said, adding, " The truth is that most people weren't doing that."
Nine of the employees who lost their jobs were behavioral management specialists, while eight others managed clients' cases.
"We had over 70 people in that particular category," Ranieri
said, referring to behavioral management specialists.