Forsyth County wants to opt out of the statewide foster care plan. | Local News

Forsyth County has applied for an exemption from a new statewide foster care plan for children and families.

The County Board of Commissioners raised concerns about the state’s Children and Families Specialty Plan on Thursday, both at their scheduled meeting and in a letter from Chairman Dave Plyler to the Secretary of State. to Health Kody Kinsley and Medicaid Assistant Secretary Dave Richard.

The letter was also sent to the county’s legislative delegation. Plyler said Richard informed Forsyth officials of the possibility of stepping down.

Plyler wants to opt out of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ specialized foster care plan in order to be served by Partners Health Management’s managed care plan, which is scheduled to launch Dec. 1 as part of of a four-year contract.

The partners took over as Forsyth’s behavioral health managed care organization on November 1. It also serves Davie, Surry and Yadkin counties in the Triad.

People who need certain services to treat a serious mental illness, a serious emotional disorder, a serious substance use disorder, an intellectual or developmental disability, or a traumatic brain injury may be eligible to enroll in a plan. tailored.

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“CFSP’s current proposal would move many young people into the custody of the Department of Social Services outside the direction of Partners, creating another change too soon in an already complex system,” Plyler wrote.

“CFSP’s proposed design of a single, statewide plan will jeopardize, rather than support, the progress we are making and the purposeful infrastructure we are building with our partners,” Plyler said.

Not alone

Forsyth and Partners officials said the county was not alone in seeking the exemption.

Plyler wrote that Mecklenburg County is pursuing a similar exemption request.

Meanwhile, the state’s six behavioral health MCOs wrote to Kinsley and Richard in March about their preference for the specialty plan to fall under their umbrella. Besides the partners, the others are Alliance Health, Eastpointe, Sandhills Center, Trillium Health Resources, and Vaya Health.

“CFSP’s changing population parameters, combined with the statewide (rather than regional) approach, have raised serious concerns about the sustainability of tailored behavioral health and developmental disability plans. /development, the timing of the proposed RFP, the disruption of efforts currently underway by MCOs to improve the system for this population, and the effectiveness of a statewide plan,” MCO wrote in a joint March 4 letter to Richard.

MCOs said their concerns were aided in part by “receiving questions and concerns from our local counties and DSS partners.”

“We would like the opportunity to ensure that our Boards of Directors, County Commissioners’ Advisory Councils, Consumer and Family Advisory Committees and County Commissioners’ Councils for our constituent counties fully understand the long-term impact on their communities and may provide additional comments directly to the department.”

Time is running out, Forsyth County Deputy Executive Shontell Robinson said Thursday, as Richard is due to make a presentation on the plan on Tuesday before a joint legislative health care oversight committee.

Rhett Melton, managing director of Partners, told Forsyth commissioners on Thursday that “we share this belief that the best care for these children is local.”

The partners said the majority of the 14 counties in its network have expressed to DHHS their preference for handling foster care issues with a local plan.

“Frankly, most counties were unaware of the details of the plan until recently,” Partners said.

“Forsyth is different from Davie, from Gaston, from Iredell, so we think the solution to these very difficult cases is to continue to build on those successes that we’ve started at the grassroots level,” Melton said.

Background

DHHS said in July that tailored plans like Partners could serve about 200,000 North Carolinas, or about 8.7% of the state’s 2.3 million Medicaid recipients.

By comparison, between 1.4 million and 1.8 million in North Carolina participate in the Medicaid Bridging Program overseen by four statewide prepaid health plans for their full-body coverage, including health care. long-term and pharmacy services. This transition program began on July 1.

Posted on the DHHS website, the plan “will include care management services to improve coordination among service providers, families, involved entities (such as Department of Human Services, Juvenile Justice Division , schools) and other stakeholders involved in serving plan members.

DHHS said its plan would not require participants to make multiple transitions.

An interim plan is designed to “ensure children receive a full range of physical and behavioral health services,” as well as “leverage the existing NC Medicaid Direct Primary Care and MCO behavioral health system while directly addressing the challenges and alleviating the issues foster children face today.”

The partners said the plan “was conceived some time ago when the landscape was very different and at the height of concerns about Cardinal Innovations and its refusal to work with counties on their toughest cases with children. “.

“The landscape has changed dramatically with the realignment of Cardinal Counties and the County/LMEMCO collaboration around caring for our most vulnerable children has urgently resumed.

“These relationships now exist with each MCO and their counties, and will remain the cornerstone of how the bespoke plans work.”

Journalist Wesley Young contributed to this article.

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