Last legislative session, the General Assembly passed the 2016 – 2017 spending plan for the state. While some promising initiatives received funding, such as the creation of a statewide bed registry for behavioral health beds, the spending plan also makes significant funding cuts that NAMI North Carolina believes will have an adverse impact on mental health services in North Carolina.
Over the next two years, the General Assembly will cut $262 million in “single stream funding” which supports people who are uninsured or under-insured who need mental health services. At the same time, while funding is being cut, the budget bill requires the LME-MCOs to maintain the same level of services for people who are uninsured or under-insured.
- Individuals who are uninsured or under-insured and who need mental health services may not be able to receive the care they require.
- LME-MCOs may have to use saved reinvestment dollars to replace the money lost by the funding cut, meaning for some LME-MCOs, reinvestment projects that would add or expand mental health services will be put on hold.
Jack Register, Executive Director of NAMI NC, discusses the work of The Governor’s Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Use and how lawmakers can truly make a difference on News and Views with Chris Fitzsimon on WRAL-FM, which aired on February 21, 2016.
Click here to listen to the radio interview.
NAMI NC Executive Director, Jack Register, was quoted in a recent article in the News & Observer about the Governor’s Task Force.
By Lynn Bonner, News & Observer
A task force on mental health and substance abuse, meeting under Gov. Pat McCrory’s direction, is looking at the intersection of drug addiction, mental illness and incarceration. The goal is to get policies, and money, directed toward improved care.
The task force has reviewed two dozen recommendations that included providing more affordable housing, education for health care providers and prescription drug tracking. State Health and Human Services Secretary Rick Brajer and state Chief Justice Mark Martin are leading the group, whose members include doctors, judges, patient advocates, legislators and law enforcement representatives.
The task force was divided into three work groups that reported their recommendations last week. From here, the task force will decide which recommendations it will forward to the legislature.
Click here to read the entire article.
By Michael Hyland, WNCN
Advocates for people living with mental illnesses say they’re encouraged by President Obama’s proposal to spend an additional $500 million on treatment, but it’s unclear if Congress will approve that spending.
Click here to read the entire article and to watch the video clip.
NAMI NC executive director, Jack Register, was featured on a segment of Capital Tonight about Mental Health Funding in NC. He was joined by House Appropriations Chairman Nelson Dollar. Click here to watch the show (segment begins at 8 minutes 25 seconds).
The NAMI NC community mourns the passing of Mike Mayer, PhD, a dear friend, advocate, leader, and man who as former Executive Director Deby Dihoff stated “had a life well lived.” He was an accomplished professional who was sought out for his expertise in working with people with disabilities, not only here in North Carolina, but throughout the country. But that was just a part of the great work Mike did; he also worked in other countries as well, as evidenced by his work to start a clinic in Africa. Mike’s leadership in NAMI NC as Board President helped us through the transition of our new executive director, as well as positioning NAMI NC to be a “go to” organization in the state for issues related to mental illness and those affected by it. We at NAMI NC hold Mike’s family in our thoughts and prayers as we all say goodbye to a dear friend, who indeed, had a life well lived.
NAMI North Carolina is aware of the proposed changes to funding strategies to the Cardinal LME/MCO service array. There has been much discussion and speculation about these changes and how they will impact services for both Medicaid and non-Medicaid members. With so much constant change in the mental health system, we, along with our members, have rightfully become skeptical about sudden changes that lack clarity. While it may be easy to immediately react to these changes, NAMI North Carolina values doing our due diligence and gathering as much information that is available.
After careful consideration of the bulletin and discussions with Cardinal leadership, we have been assured that the service array is not changing nor are services being cut or decreased. How we understand it, these changes will allow state dollars to be used for those who have no other options -uninsured or underinsured. If medical necessity is not met under the Medicaid service definition for a member, instead of the Medicaid member using state dollars, they instead will use services created by Cardinal from Medicaid savings (B3 funds). This way, state dollars are reserved for when Cardinal members need them most; either people without insurance or Medicaid eligible people who have been unsuccessful with B3 alternative services and have been denied by Medicaid.
The General Assembly has charged the LME/MCO system with smartly investing their savings and limited resources in a socially and fiscally responsible way. Cardinal is taking an unprecedented step that may have smart payoffs. NAMI North Carolina will continue to remain diligent in our observations and communications around this issue. Whenever there is innovation, we monitor closely to ensure the changes have positive impacts on care, health outcomes, and overall experience with the mental health system.
If you are in the Cardinal catchment area, please contact the state office or your local affiliate and share your experience so we can better understand how this change is affecting our community.
WHO: NAMI North Carolina (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
Attendees will be: psychologists, counselors, social workers, mental health professionals and providers, nurse practitioners, government officials, students, holistic wellness providers, local management entities, advocates, child advocates, school nurses, families, individuals with lived experience, other health care professionals and interested community members.
WHAT: NAMI North Carolina’s Annual Conference: Transforming the Face of Mental Illness in North Carolina
WHEN: Friday, October 23, 2015, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, October 24, 2015, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
WHERE: NC State University McKimmon Conference & Training Center, 1101 Gorman Street, Raleigh, NC 27606
WHY: This conference will focus on how mental health and wellness is changing in North Carolina. We will focus on the best practices in mental illness treatment, recognizing the signs of suicidal behavior across the lifespan and how trauma, depression and anxiety affect a myriad of populations. We will also address the recent changes in the structure of mental health service delivery such as: changes in understanding what a diagnosis is, how integrated care will be incorporated, funding, implementation and measurement of community programs and services, and what the structure (public or private) of the mental health system will be in the future. Additionally, we aim to educate attendees on the early signs and symptoms of mental illness, and empower them with the tools necessary for early intervention, day-to-day coping skills and how to make their voices heard. Speakers range from mental health providers, to those with lived experience (family members as well as consumers), to mental health researchers and advocates.
The Keynote address will be given by Representative Carla Cunningham. Rep. Cunningham is a native North Carolinian. She graduated from Anson Senior High school in 1980. She then received her Licensed Practical Nurse diploma from Central Piedmont Community College in 1981, her Associate’s Degree in Nursing from Gaston College in 1996, and her Bachelors of Science degree in Nursing in 2009 from Winston Salem State University. She has practiced as a health care professional since 1981 in multiple nursing fields, while also serving as a community activist.
In 2011, Governor Beverly Perdue appointed her to serve on the NC Commission for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services. Currently, she is serving her second term in the NC General Assembly and is an advocate for health care, mental health, developmental disabilities, seniors, women, and children.