Rutherford County Mental Health
LME/MCO Change

NC DHHS Secretary Approves Realignment Request

On December 28, 2018, Rutherford County government was notified by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) Secretary Mandy Cohen, MD, MHP, that, in accordance with NCGS § 122C-115(a3) and the county disengagement rules, NC DHHS is approving Rutherford County’s realignment with Partners Behavioral Health Management (Partners) with an effective date of July 1, 2019.

On April 9, 2018, the Rutherford County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to disengage from its current Local Management Entity/Managed Care Organization (LME/MCO), Vaya Health, to realign with Partners. LME/MCOs are governmental entities that manage county, state and Medicaid funds for mental health, intellectual/developmental disability and substance use services.

Rutherford County is dedicated to improving the quality of life of the residents who have chosen our county as their home.  It is in consideration of this strategic goal that the Board of County Commissioners chose to pursue a relationship with Partners to manage Rutherford County’s behavioral health services funded by federal, state and county dollars.

Rutherford County Board of Commissioners Chairman Bryan King states, “On behalf of the Rutherford County Board of Commissioners, I appreciate North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Cohen’s December 28, 2018 approval of the Rutherford County’s request for the LME/MCO Realignment to Partners Behavioral Health Management. I would like to thank everyone that participated in the due diligence period and for those that will serve on the Realignment Committee during the transition period from now to the realignment effective date of July 1, 2019.”

Partners CEO Rhett Melton added, “We are honored by the trust and confidence in Partners that the County’s leadership has shown through their decision to align with us for the care of citizens in this community.  We look forward to partnering with individuals receiving care and their families, providers and stakeholders in Rutherford County to live out Partners’ motto of ‘Improving Lives and Strengthening Communities.’”

Since April, the County Commissioners and staff performed their due diligence to determine whether such a decision was in the best interest of its residents, including soliciting public, consumer and service provider comments and reviewing all the factors set out in statute and rule. Rutherford County Commissioners then passed a resolution on September 4, 2018 affirming their decision on behalf of their constituents to disengage from Vaya and realign with Partners.

In her December 28, 2018 letter, Secretary Cohen stated, “Based on our review of this information, I have determined that Rutherford met the requirements of the statute and the eleven factors set out in the rule. The disengagement and realignment will not adversely affect the quality, variety, and amount of services for the clients of Rutherford County.” The Secretary advised Rutherford County that the Realignment Committee created by the county was a good first step toward a seamless transition to Partners, which she will require the county to expand to include representatives from the executive leadership of Vaya and Partners, as well as members of both LME/MCO’s Consumer and Family Advisory Committees and provider networks.  County leaders will review all requirements set forth from the Secretary in the coming weeks to develop a collaborative strategy and a joint work plan to ensure that there are no gaps in service coverage for recipients and to ensure a smooth transition to Partners on July 1, 2019.

Enrollee Navigator – Who or what is Partners?

Ever wonder who Partners is or why Partners is listed on your Medicaid Card? Here are the short answers.

Who is Partners?
Partners is a Local Management Entity-Managed Care Organization or LME-MCO. Many people refer to us as an MCO. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services contracts with Partners to manage behavioral health care services paid with federal, state, and local funds. The sources of these funds include Medicaid (1915 (b)/(c) Medicaid Waiver), state and county funding, and grants.

Partners covers everyone who lives in Burke, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Surry, and Yadkin County and who have Medicaid or state health insurance or no insurance at all. We make sure they receive the best behavioral health services for mental health (for things like depression or anxiety), substance use disorder treatment (for addiction), or intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Why is Partners on the back of my Medicaid Card?
All Medicaid recipients whose Medicaid is issued by one of the counties in the Partners’ service area (Burke, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Surry, and Yadkin) are eligible to receive behavioral health services through Partners. However, less than 20% of people who are eligible for services use them. We want to remind the other 80% to call Partners if they or a family member ever needs behavioral health services.

Partners wants to help ANYONE in CRISIS.
It doesn’t matter how much money you make or if you have insurance or not.
If you need immediate help, call 1-888-235-HOPE (4673) anytime, every day.

How do I Contact Partners?
Call Partners anytime, every day at 1-888-235-HOPE (4673) and one of our employees will set up an appointment for you to meet with one of the service providers in our network. Providers are credentialed professionals specializing in mental health, substance use disorder, and intellectual and developmental disabilities services. Partners works with the provider to make sure members are getting the right services, and we handle the funding for the services.

How Can I Find out more About Partners?
Visit our website at https://www.partnersbhm.org. You can also call Partners anytime, every day at 1-888-235-HOPE (4673).

In the Community 

Catawba County – You Matter…Be Counted!! Point in Time Counts

The Housing Visions Continuum of Care will count those that are homeless, on January 31, 2019, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., to increase housing options available in Catawba County. If you Live in a tent, Live with family or friends, or live in a car, come to Hickory Soup Kitchen, 110 2nd St. Place SE, Hickory -or- Life House, 831 2nd Ave. Place SE, Hickory -or- Corner Table Soup Kitchen, 122 N. Main Ave., Newton. Answer a brief survey about your situation and receive free supplies for you and your household. For more information, contact Teena Willis at 828-323-8084 or Jennifer Clark at 828-324-9917.

Burke County – You Matter…Be Counted!! Point in Time Counts

The Burke Cares Continuum of Care will count those that are homeless, on January 31, 2019, from 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m., to increase housing options available in Catawba County. If you Live in a tent, Live with family or friends, or live in a car, come to Burke United Christian Ministries, 305 B West Union St., Morganton. For more information, contact Teena Willis at 828-323-8084 or Alison Azbell at 828-432-5659.

Gaston Community Fitness and Spiritual Wellness Calendar

It’s that time of year when we all look for ways to improve our health and wellness. Check out the following link https://bit.ly/2sqabSY for a calendar of “Fitness and Spiritual Wellness” events throughout Gaston County. Most (99%) of them are FREE. Run/Walk for God, Yoga, Zumba, Aerobics, Roller skating, Faithful Families nutrition classes, Heart Healthy Cooking Classes and More!

Hickory Brain Injury Support Group

The next brain injury support group meeting is on Tuesday, January 22, at 6 p.m., at First United Methodist Church, 311 3rd Ave. NE, Hickory. In the meeting attendees will listen to a recorded presentation from Butch Alterman Webinar series by brain injury survivor David Grant titled “Rebuilding a Meaningful Life after Brain Injury.” David describes his experiences after brain injury and how he reestablished a meaningful life. Afterwards, the group will discuss what is meaningful for different members and how members can expand meaning after brain injury. For more information, contact Travis Glass at 828-781-0778 or travis@crossroadscounseling.org. Also check us out on facebook.com/HickoryBISG.

Community Resource Fair

This First Annual Community Resource Fair brings together Human Services professionals, non-profit agency staff, community members and others who share the vision and work towards building strong communities and ending the cycle of poverty. On Saturday, January 26, 2019, from 9 a.m.-12 p.m., at New Day Christian Church, 1023 East Meeting St., Morganton, come and get resources for Housing and Shelters, Health Care, Legal Services, Nutrition Programs, Transportation, Public Benefits, Services for veterans, and Employment Services.

Behavioral Health Focus is published on the first and third Tuesday of each month and is intended to be a source of information for those working or interacting with behavioral health care in Burke, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Surry and Yadkin Counties. If you would like to contribute, contact Jeff Brucato at 704-884-2564 or jbrucato@partnersbhm.org. Items should be submitted by Wednesday at 3 p.m. for the next week’s issue.

Volume 4 – Issue 11
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