State announces new LME/MCO service regions Agencies to merge to provide mental health, intellectual and developmental disability and substance use services
State health officials announced today that the state- and Medicaid-funded Local Management Entities/Managed Care Organizations providing mental health, intellectual and developmental disability and substance use services to North Carolina citizens will be consolidating into four service regions across the state.
Further consolidation will improve quality of services, accessibility, accountability and long-term sustainability.
“I’m a strong believer in LME/MCOs,” said Rick Brajer, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. “These populations deserve dedicated management.”
The newly consolidated service areas are:
- North Central Region: CenterPoint Human Services and Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions will be merging
- South Central Region: Sandhills Center and Alliance Behavioral Healthcare will be merging
- Eastern Region: Eastpointe and Trillium Health Resources will be merging
- Western Region: Partners Behavioral Health Management and Smoky Mountain LME/MCO will be merging
“We need strong LME/MCOs to achieve our Medicaid reform objectives,” Brajer said. “Now is the right time to strengthen these organizations for long-term sustainability.”
In addition to their role in the future of Medicaid reform, LME/MCOs will play an important role in implementing recommendations that come from the Governor’s Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Use as its members seek innovative ways to streamline systems already in place to address mental health and substance use needs across the state.
Covering larger regions will allow for more consistent services to be offered to all areas of the state. It will also foster better coordination of care for people who may temporarily move into different service areas, such as children in foster care. It is also expected to decrease the administrative burden on providers who offer services in more than one LME/MCO region.
This consolidation reflects much of what the organizations themselves had proposed when mergers were first considered in late 2013. LME/MCO officials proposed regions to serve the east, the west and two to serve central North Carolina.
LME/MCO leaders will work closely with DHHS leadership on implementation plans and timelines throughout coming months.