SANTA FE, N.M. — The computer system behind New Mexico’s Medicaid program fell short of the U.S. government’s security requirements during a review that found data was left vulnerable and operations were put at risk, a federal inspector general said.
The New Mexico Human Services Department stated it has since fixed the issues, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported (http://bit.ly/2xCi1Ka ) Thursday.
But the inspector general cautioned that holes in security could have compromised the program’s confidentiality and integrity, although a breach of the system was not found.
“The department is committed to making sure New Mexicans receive the Medicaid services they need as well as making sure that Medicaid data is protected,” Joseph Cueto, spokesman for the Human Services Department, wrote in an email.
The inspector general has not released the full report, which details the vulnerabilities that auditors found and other sensitive information. But a summary of the report stated vulnerabilities existed because the department had not implemented “sufficient controls over its Medicaid data and information systems,” despite having adopted a security program for the computer system.
The review, conducted in March 2016, came just a few years after the state government budgeted nearly $20 million to upgrade the Human Services Department’s system for handling Medicaid and other benefit-program applications.
The overhaul was the biggest information technology project in the state’s history and cost nearly $100 million more in federal funds.
The state’s Medicaid program has also been growing since Gov. Susana Martinez agreed in 2013 to expand eligibility to adults with low incomes as part of the Affordable Care Act.
Nearly 900,000 people were enrolled in New Mexico’s Medicaid program as of June.
Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.sfnewmexican.com