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, LMEMCOs, consumers, and other interested stakeholders. The transition process will be explained in detail. Learn more.



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.

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.

Wake Cross Agency Orientation

Wake System of Care will host the next Cross Agency Orientation on February 10 at 1:30pm at the Five Points Center for Active Adults in Raleigh. Wake County’s Juvenile Justice Substance Abuse Mental Health Partnership (JJSAMHP) will present on services and supports for court-involved youth. Topics will include the new Common Consent form, evidence-based treatment models, the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC), JJSAMHP goals and data, and System of Care. Plan to join us even if you work with youth who are not court-involved since much of the information is applicable to youth in general.

Savings Accounts for Individuals with Disabilities

NC ABLE is a program of simple, affordable and tax-advantaged accounts that allow eligible individuals with disabilities to save up to $14,000 a year without endangering eligibility for certain means-tested federal and state benefit programs, including Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Parents/guardians of children with disabilities can open accounts on behalf of those who qualify. Account funds can be used to pay for a wide variety of qualified disability expenses (QDEs) including rent and housing expenses, transportation and educational expenses, employment training and supports, assistive technology, and many other approved expenses.

Request for Feedback on Community Needs Assessment

As part of its annual Community Needs Assessment to evaluate service capacity, needs and gaps in Cumberland, Durham, Johnston and Wake counties, Alliance is seeking input from our community through multiple approaches, including a web-based survey. Information received through this process will inform our service planning and development efforts for the next year and help us better serve adults, children and families in the Alliance region. Please help us obtain community feedback by responding to the survey by Monday, February 1 and by distributing this message to others who may have an interest in responding.  The survey will be available until February 1 at Those who are not able to utilize the online survey may access hard copy versions for download and printing. Access the Full Survey or versions for those who wish to provide feedback only about Adult MH/SA services, only about Child MH/SA services, or only about I/DD and TBI services.

Recovery and Self-Determination Training

As part of Alliance’s ongoing campaign to raise awareness internally and externally of the concepts of recovery and self-determination, these community discussions/workshops are designed to foster a shared knowledge base around these critical concepts and will include staff, providers, consumers and families, and other stakeholders. The next session will be hosted on February 10 from 9:00am-1:00pm at the Alliance Home Office. Non-Alliance staff who have not taken the training can register here.