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DHHS outlines changes to state's mental health services

Posted January 7, 2011

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— Health and Human Services Secretary Lanier Cansler says changes to the state’s mental health care program will provide a better quality of services to patients and hold health care providers more accountable.

The state’s 2001 mental health care reform efforts resulted in hundreds of companies offering services and too much fraud and abuse that caused patients and consumers across the state to get lost in the system, Cansler told reporters at a news conference Friday morning.

The Critical Access Behavioral Health Agency, which became operational Jan. 1 , he says, will provide limits on who can provide some services to patients with mental health illnesses, developmental disabilities or substance abuse problems

It will also provide greater oversight to the programs and ensure the same levels of services and care exist across all providers.

“We want to provide fair compensation to good providers who work diligently to provide genuinely needed (mental health, developmental disability and substance abuse) services to people who need them,” Cansler said. “But we are also determined to prevent unscrupulous providers from cheating the system.”

The state so far has received more than 600 applications from companies wanting to be CABHA providers. Of those, 175 have been approved.

The new requirements also mean that some smaller providers likely won’t be able to make it through the system.

“It has been controversial because there are a number of small providers out there that won’t be able to jump through the hoops to be a CABHA,” Cansler said. “We realize that and regret that.”

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  • sanford1259 Jan 7, 2011

    The system is totally broken. The system before reform was not always great and sometimes served patients poorly; but there were abundant services for the chronically mentally ill, indigent, and the severely disorganized patients. Private for-profit companies cannot make money serving these populations so they are no longer served reliably, if they are served at all. As this trend continues DOC and the jails will become the largest provider of mental health services in the state.

  • snickers27588 Jan 7, 2011

    It's sad that ANYONE would belive this Bull. I have a 35 year old neighbor who is Bi-Polar as well as having several very serious physical disabilities yet the state, in it's infinite wisdom, keeps making the Dr's treating people like her "jump through hoops". The state seems to think it will save money by sending patients to a new Dr. every few months where very expensive repeat testing is done every time, which results in the exact same medications, instead of just sticking with what works. It's a shame the state is only making new positions and hiring unqualified personal friends instead of just hiring more criminals and mentaly impaired like the current administration.

  • mulecitybabe Jan 7, 2011

    Any statement that starts with "Lanier Cansler said" is usually followed by the announcement of the next big future failure of DHHS to provide for the mentally ill as they should.

  • RB-1 Jan 7, 2011

    These changes should be being made immediately when gaps or failures are noted, not great big changes every once in a while once those gaps or failures are noted by media.

    pfffttt

  • rooster60 Jan 7, 2011

    Having a handicapped daughter who receives wonderful services at a great group home, I shudder to think what these new great and wonderful changes will be. Our mentally handicapped and mentally ill are usually the first ones to be hit with cuts in services. The worst thing this state did was to privatize services and greedy, unscrupulous people caused the fraud and abuse. Will be praying hard!

  • juliestoneham Jan 7, 2011

    Hmmm lets see, fewer providers, more control over services, more control over who really needs services... And fewer getting lost in the system? I'm confused...This will be better, right?

  • u stand corrected Jan 7, 2011

    Help our mentally ill. They suffer.

  • gvmntcheese Jan 7, 2011

    Regret does not pay the bills or help those in need, Cansler. Why is the whole state being punished for a system that was KNOWINGLY flawed to begin with? Citizens, this is just another example of the state and BIG business monopolizing your tax dollars. To make matters worse, those in need are the ones who will suffer. Shame on you NC!