Donate to Hurricane Recovery

‘We Want to Think About the Whole Person’

DHHS Deputy Secretary Christen Linke Young at the Healthy Aging Summit

DHHS Deputy Secretary Christen Linke Young speaks at the Healthy Aging Summit.

Aug. 31, 2017 — The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is committed to transparency and listening to stakeholders in reforming the state’s Medicaid program, Deputy Secretary Christen Linke Young said during the 2017 Healthy Aging Summit in Chapel Hill last week.

Young, who oversees policy and operations at DHHS, spoke about the importance of Medicaid reform, which is moving to managed care in North Carolina. She noted that DHHS is placing an emphasis on all the factors that influence a person’s health.

“We want to think about the whole person, beyond what happens within the four walls of a doctor’s office,” Young told to the audience of 150 clinicians and community-based providers. The summit focused on chronic disease self-management, fall prevention, mental health and medication management, and bridging the community-clinical gap. 

With Secretary Mandy Cohen’s leadership, DHHS wants to make sure the behavioral health care needs of beneficiaries are met, and that access to programs that provide people with resources — like Food and Nutrition Services — is supported, Young said. With people aged 60 or older soon outnumbering those 18 and younger, it’s more important than ever to take care of the state’s aging population, she said.

Young also touched on how the opioid crisis affects the state’s entire population, including older adults. DHHS is looking to promote safe prescribing, reduce the flow of illicit drugs, improve access to treatment and curb overdose deaths.

Summit attendees also heard from Stacy Hurley, DHHS’ No Wrong Door state coordinator, and Heather Black, the NC 2-1-1 statewide strategy director for the United Way of North Carolina. Hurley spoke of the success the No Wrong Door program has had in partnering with United Way’s NC 2-1-1 to connect aging adults with long-term services and supports. 

“Unifying access into our human service system through NC 2-1-1 is how we start preparing to manage the needs of an increased number of older adults, people with disabilities and people with Alzheimer’s and dementia living in North Carolina,” Hurley said. “They need fast and easy access to information about services and supports that will help them to remain in their homes and communities.”

Together, the partnership has helped ensure individuals are on a direct path to receiving assistance that meets their needs. 


Ryan Hill