Revised Addendum to RFP #2017-001 Posted

A revised Addendum to RFP #2017-001 for Innovations Waiver Supported Living has been posted. Upcoming due dates have been extended and the revised Addendum contains a corrected email address.

Hope4NC and Alliance Support Cumberland County Citizens Affected by Hurricane Matthew

(Fayetteville, NC) – Seven months after Hurricane Matthew slammed into Cumberland County, many families are still displaced from their homes and waiting for repairs to be completed. Through a partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Alliance Behavioral Healthcare is providing five crisis outreach teams to canvas neighborhoods, hotels, rentals and shelters to provide disaster crisis counseling to those affected by the flood.

The Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program, also known as Hope4NC, offers short-term interventions that include the coping strategies and emotional support disaster survivors need to help manage the stress of their current situations. While the program doesn’t provide home repairs, it can refer citizens to a variety of helping resources in the community that are essential to putting their lives and homes back together.

The crisis counselors that staff Hope4NC understand that many households are in various stages of repair. “It can be devastating to lose everything and still have the daily struggle of living outside your home seven months later,” says Disaster Recovery Coordinator Laressa Witt. “Added to the financial burden of starting all over, it can be very stressful for families.”  Witt points out the importance of the confidential place the program provides for people to talk about their struggles and hardships. “It’s amazing how therapeutic it can be to have someone listen and empathize with you.”

According to FEMA there are four emotional stages of disaster, moving from the heroic phase to the honeymoon phase to the disillusionment phase and finally to the reconstruction phase. Witt says that many in Cumberland County are in the disillusionment phase due to the length of time it has taken to recover from the October weather. “Many folks say they had no idea it would take this long to return to their homes, and this has added to their emotional fatigue. Most tell us that they are simply ‘tired.’”

Cumberland County citizens still displaced from their homes or still experiencing the emotional effects of the storm call the Hope4NC Hotline at (919) 407-2942.

Alliance and WakeMed Health and Hospitals Offer Mental Health First Aid Training to Elected Officials in Wake County

Alliance is partnering with WakeMed Health and Hospitals, Duke Raleigh Hospital, UNC REX, and the UNC-CH School of Social Work to train elected officials in Wake County in Mental Health First Aid. The 8-hour training will be held on May 19 at WakeMed North Hospital in Raleigh.

1 in 5 Americans has a mental illness, but many are reluctant to seek help or might not know where to turn for care. Unlike physical conditions, symptoms of mental health and substance use problems can be difficult to detect. For friends and family members, it can be hard to know when and how to step in. As a result, those in need of mental health services often do not get them until it is too late.

Just as knowing CPR helps even those without clinical training assist an individual having a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid training allows members of the public to better identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses. Trainees learn a 5-step action plan that guides them through the process of reaching out and offering appropriate support.

In just ten years, the Mental Health First Aid program has certified over 1,000,000 people nationally, including over 36,000 in North Carolina, most in the Southeast and #6 in the country. During the past year alone Alliance trained 824 individuals in Adult Mental Health First Aid, and 84 in Youth Mental Health First Aid, a specialized version of the training for adults who come in frequent contact with young people.

Among those scheduled to participate in this week’s training are members of state and local government and executive leadership from WakeMed Health and Hospitals, UNC REX and Duke Raleigh Hospital.


Alliance Teams with Duke to Keep Kids at Home

Alliance Behavioral Healthcare has partnered with researchers in the Duke Division of Child and Family Mental Health and Developmental Neuroscience and Ben Goldstein, PhD of the Duke Division of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics on a project designed to use early intervention with mental health services to help young people avoid the need for intensive care in out-of-home settings. The project is funded in part by a grant from the Duke Institute for Health Innovations.

As the managed care organization (MCO) for public behavioral health services for the citizens of Durham, Wake, Cumberland and Johnston counties, Alliance serves a total population of over 1.8 million people. Ensuring mental health treatment for youth in their communities – and supporting them to live at home with their families of origin – is a priority for Alliance reflected in its plan to invest $41 million in Medicaid savings over three years in innovative, evidence-based solutions to the behavioral health needs of its communities.

The project will develop a model of statistical analysis of health insurance claims to generate real-time identification of youth at risk for needing treatment in therapeutic foster care, or in emergency departments at a point when psychiatric treatment in an out-of-home setting is the only option. While therapeutic foster care is an effective model of care that provides children with a combination of the best elements of traditional foster care and residential treatment centers, earlier identification of high-risk kids can allow them to remain with their families and in their communities while receiving mental health treatment, a less intensive and costly alternative. Alliance and Duke will team to provide them with care coordination and clinical services. The resulting predictive model and associated data analysis will be re-used in a number of applications that will help identify and intervene with youth at risk for needing out-of-home treatment.

“This partnership with Duke is consistent with our comprehensive population health approach in delivering a data-informed, collaborative care model that identifies and addresses the full range of medical, functional, social, emotional and environmental needs across all the populations we serve,” said Rob Robinson, Alliance CEO. “Our goal is to improve health outcomes by focusing on wellness, prevention and person-directed care.”

NC Innovations Waiver Listening Session

The NC Divisions of Medical Assistance and Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services are holding listening sessions on the NC Innovations Waiver as we prepare to renew the Wavier. The goals of the listening sessions are to provide an overview of the Innovations Waiver, to let you know what just happened and let you now what’s coming up, and to get feedback. The session in this region will be held in Chapel Hill on June 5. Get more information.


I/DD Community Resource Fair

Alliance will host a free Intellectual and Developmental Disability (I/DD) Community Resource Fair on May 2 from 3:00-7:00pm. It will be held in Rooms 104/105 at the Alliance home office. Triangle area community organizations will be on hand to offer information about their programs. Access a flyer that can be printed and posted.

Public Input Sought on Medicaid Reform

The NC Department of Health and Human Services is seeking additional public input on the transformation of the Medicaid and NC Health Choice programs (also known as “Medicaid reform”). Ideas and comments can be submitted through May 25, and a public input session will be held in Raleigh on May 16 at 6:00pm. Learn more, including how to submit input and the address and time of the public input session.

Listening Session/Public Forum on NCI

The Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services is releasing NCI to public domain and providing information about the process. They will host a listening session/public forum on May 11 in Raleigh to field questions from providers using a restrictive intervention, LME/MCOs, consumers, and other interested stakeholders. The transition process will be explained in detail. Learn more.

Alliance Names New Head of Clinical Operations

Dr. Courtney Cantrell has been named Senior Vice President for Clinical Operations for Alliance Behavioral Healthcare. Dr. Cantrell spent almost four years at the NC Department of Health and Human Services, including two as Director of the NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services.

Dr. Cantrell is a clinical psychologist with a doctorate from Florida State University. She is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, where she was particularly active in enhancing the emphasis on whole person integrated care. At DHHS she promoted a focus on the people being served by the behavioral healthcare system in the making of policy decisions, and continued her emphasis on integrating both physical and behavioral health issues in plans for system improvements. She comes to Alliance from Care Management Technologies/Relias Learning, where she counseled health homes and managed care organizations on the use of data analytics to enhance the effectiveness of care coordination and integration.

As part of the Care Management Division at Alliance, Dr. Cantrell will apply her broad clinical experience and expertise in the use of data, whole person health care and population health analytics to support an increased focus on population health, innovative practices in care coordination, implementation of the Traumatic Brain Injury waiver, and Innovations waiver changes.

“Dr. Cantrell’s broad clinical and leadership experience at the state level, combined with her familiarity with whole person integrated care and data analytics, makes her an excellent choice to lead Alliance’s Clinical Operations, said Rob Robinson, Alliance CEO. “We are excited to welcome her to the Alliance team.”

“While at the State I was always impressed with Alliance as a compassionate, steadfast and trustworthy leader in public behavioral health services and with the organization’s outstanding leadership,” Dr. Cantrell said. “That is what attracted me to Alliance. I look forward to working with the Alliance team in their work to further integrate the use of population health data and clinical data in increasing the quality of healthcare, ultimately resulting in better outcomes and healthier lives for the people we serve.”



Alliance Tapped to Head New Programs

Alliance Behavioral Healthcare has been awarded funding to implement two new programs, one involving Child Tiered Case Management and the other enhancing Facility-Based Crisis Services for children and adolescents. Funding for the Case Management pilot comes from $20 million directed by the North Carolina General Assembly in the FY17 State budget to support recommendations made by former Governor Pat McCrory’s Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Use to help North Carolinians with mental health and substance use issues. The Task Force, which included experts from the justice system, healthcare provider community, recovery community, county leadership, non-governmental entities and private sector professionals, presented its recommendations in May 2016. Funding for the Facility-Based Crisis program was allocated in the FY17 State budget from the Dorothea Dix Hospital Property Fund.

As the managed care organization (MCO) for public behavioral health services for the citizens of Durham, Wake, Cumberland and Johnston counties, Alliance serves a total population of over 1.8 million people.

“These initiatives will help us build on our progress to divert people in mental health and substance use crises from emergency departments and county jails into the treatment they need,” said Interim Senior Director of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services Jason Vogler, Ph.D. in speaking of the whole array of initiatives funded by the budget. “They also give youth and adults much needed support to be successful in recovery and integration into their communities.”

As part of the Child Tiered Child Case Management pilot, case managers will work closely with juvenile justice and child welfare offices to provide assessments, develop person-centered plans of care, and link children and youth and their families in Durham County to other recovery supports. This approach is designed to help prevent youth from moving deeper into the justice system. Alliance has chosen Youth Villages, an organization with extensive experience in providing comprehensive, community-based services for youth, to administer the pilot.

In this tiered program, the primary focus population is youth who are transitioning from out-of-home placements related to their involvement with the juvenile justice system. They will be provided with intensive case management and “high fidelity wraparound” services. High fidelity wraparound is a process led by a facilitator where multiple systems come together with the child, youth, and family to create a highly-individualized plan to address complex emotional needs.

Lower-intensity services will be available for young people with less serious needs as well, including access to family and youth peer support, and caregivers called Family Navigators placed in juvenile justice and child welfare offices to help connect families to community resources.

According to Dr. Beth Melcher, head of the Care Management Division at Alliance, anticipated outcomes for young people participating in the program include enhanced engagement with school and behavioral health services, reduced use of crisis facilities, increased success living at home, and no new contact with the judicial system.

The Facility-Based Crisis program will provide a community-based, non-hospital residential setting that serves as specialized and cost-effective alternatives for children and youth who are in crisis. This facility will offer short-term intensive evaluation, treatment, or behavioral management to stabilize crisis situations.

Alliance plans to locate inpatient beds for youth and behavioral health urgent care capacity in the same building, using the same provider, creating a one-stop crisis shop for youth people and their families. Like urgent care facilities that have become an increasingly common source of physical healthcare, behavioral health urgent care allows quick, easy access to care.

To administer the Facility-Based Crisis Pilot program, Alliance has chosen KidsPeace, a national provider of a broad continuum of children’s mental and behavioral health services.  KidsPeace’s wide range of programming includes inpatient psychiatric hospitalization, residential treatment programs, therapeutic foster care operations in North Carolina and six other states, and educational services.

“It is critical to serve children and youth in crisis in a specialized setting equipped to respond to their unique needs in a safe environment,” said Dr. Melcher.

These two programs will join an array of other evidence-based and promising practices employed by Alliance network providers to help serve young people in their communities, including family focused treatment for children with behavioral challenges and serious family conflicts, and therapeutic foster care, a family-based service for youth at risk for placement in an intensive residential setting.