In Brief - New Mexico News - Sept. 20, 2013

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The Associated Press

NM reports first flu case of season
The New Mexico Department of Health says the state has its first flu case of the season.
Officials say it’s a 60-year-old man from Bernalillo County. No other information was immediately released Tuesday.
Last year, the first case of flu in the state was reported in November.
Health officials say it’s difficult to predict how severe this flu season.
They recommend everyone six months of age and older get a flu vaccine each flu season.
The Department of Health offers vaccinations for people without insurance or who are otherwise not able to get immunized.

FOG sues for  audit’s release  
The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government has filed a lawsuit seeking public disclosure of an audit that identified potential overbillings and fraud by providers of mental health and substance abuse services.
The Human Services Department has frozen payments to more than a dozen behavioral health providers because of the fraud allegations.
The lawsuit in state District Court in Santa Fe seeks to force the department and attorney general’s office to release an un-redacted copy of the audit or justify why it shouldn’t be disclosed under the Inspection of Public Records Act.
The attorney general’s office contends public disclosure of the audit could jeopardize its investigation of the fraud allegations.
The Las Cruces Sun-News and New Mexico in Depth filed a lawsuit last month to require disclosure of the audit.

Exchange kicks off ad campaign
New Mexico’s health insurance exchange is launching an advertising campaign to make small businesses and individuals aware they can buy health coverage through the online shopping center.
Radio ads started this week and 34 billboards are going up statewide. Television ads are to air in about two weeks.
The exchange (http://www.bewellnm.com/ ) will begin enrolling New Mexicans next month for coverage that starts in 2014. More than 80,000 uninsured New Mexicans are expected to obtain insurance through the exchange next year.