Saturday, January 24, 2009

Georgia 'Solons' get nervous about privatizing the public psychiatric hospitals : TAKE SOME TIPS ON MENTAL HEALTH FM YOUR NEIGHBORS IN NC

I was a licensed clinical psychologist in Atlanta for a few years and my family hails for many generations from that city. I am interested in what takes place within Georgia’s mental health care system. (The Atlanta Journal & Constitution is the only paper I've ever read that used that outdated word for legislators, 'solons'----words from a by-gone era replete with mint julips and driving Ms. Daisies.)

When reviewing NC’s difficulties associated with mental health reform, which was a privatization of outpatient mental health services and not the privatization of hospitals---such as Georgia seems to be considering----some lessons were learned. Instead of re-creating the wheel time and again, perhaps we can learn from each other.

It is not possible to make money off of caring for people with mental health challenges. Why? They mostly do not have any health insurance and what they have is Medicare or Medicaid or a combination of both.

They mostly cannot work and/ or they can only work part-time. Why? Because if they work more than a minimal amount, they lose their social security disability checks and probably their Medicaid and the psychiatric medications are expensive. Trust me: very few people can live on about $600/ month, the usual amount of a social security check. Oh yeah: you get Food Stamps and Section 8 housing.

If you wanted to free people with mental health challenges from being stuck in this place of poverty, they would have health insurance and their subsistence social security checks and they would be allowed to work as much as they could.

It’s the same problem as associated with the Veteran’s Administration system: if a veteran has been able to obtain a service connection, which is to say a monthly check based on the severity of the health matter incurred while in the Armed Services, if they get significantly better, they run the risk of having it removed or reduced. I saw some pretty amazing attempts to portray schizophrenic symptoms when I was working at the VA Birmingham. This is not to say that there are not persistently, seriously ill mental health problems of vets who are cared for by the VA.

So, if you are going to privatize the public psychiatric hospitals, while it may look good on paper in the beginning, what will not have been taken into account is the nature of the population that is utilizing the service.

Neither will the background information have been taken into account, specifically, ‘what will I lose if I get better’---- which could also be termed the ‘secondary gain’ of remaining ill.

This means that privatizing psychiatric hospitals will go bust and/ or the churn created in the mental health system will be so great that the hospitalization rate will increase (as it has in NC since privatization efforts began in 2001) and then you will have a situation like you have in NC. Related to that churn and burn-out of people working in the mental health hospitals in NC, 3 out of the 4 public mental health hospitals, such as you have in Milledgeville, GA, have lost their CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) accreditation and the only fall back is for the state to pick up the tab to the tune of approximately $2 million/ month.

If you want to pay MORE for mental health care and want to see the mental hospital system collapse (just about the time that the next governor comes in), you definitely need to move down this path.

The goals behind NC mental health reform were associated with these main tenets: 1. we want mental health services to be available to everyone; 2. we believe that competition will provide more efficient services; and, 3. we want clients or consumers to have a choice about their mental health care.

From what I understand about Georgia’s consideration of privatization of the public mental health hospitals, it is simply an attempt to get some other sucker to pay for mental health care of indigent clients while they go back to the state legislature via well-paid lobbyists, with their hands open, bleating demands for more money and blackmail of, ‘you don’t want us to go bust, do you?’

In NC, in the beginning of privatization of outpatient mental health care services, this is what happened: the state funded clients (the ‘working poor’ without even Medicaid or Medicare) could sometimes get mental health care but as the system became more and more stressed related to the truckloads of money that were flying out of the coffers of the state, their choices were minimized or severely curtailed. Private providers ‘buddied up’ in order to create their own referral networks. More money was spent.

When the NC State Legislature put into place privatization of outpatient services----in an attempt to service more citizens (in NC these are known as ‘state funded’ clients or the ‘working poor’, with no health insurance, not even Medicaid or Medicare)----there was no efficient way to create a private provider infrastructure.

Moreover, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services for 7 years, Carmen Hooker Odom, excelled in writing memos that contradicted each other such that the private companies could never depend on what was going to take place next. There was no well outlined vision, replete with actuarial tables and expectations. Instead, what took place was a dog-eat-dog provider race to consume the mental health dollars made available.

Competition is only useful if there is something desirable to be competing for.

Nevertheless, it is incorrect to state that ‘400 million dollars was wasted’ as related to NC mental health reform movement. This money was associated with the providing of Community Support Services, a Service Definition sloppily created by NC DHHS under Governor Easley, that allowed and condoned practices which today have been judged to have lead to spending by the private provider companies who were trying to get up to speed as they learned the ropes which were put in place by NC DHHS. If you don’t want money to be ‘wasted’, then you need to anticipate what the problems might be given the framework you have suggested.

Dear Georgia, take a tip from your neighbors to the north or you are doomed for a whole lot of misery : an initial big ‘hurrah’ as you think your system is surely working; increased mental health hospital admissions; increased expenditures; accelerated jailing of people with mental health issues; clandestine deals made by the private psychiatric hospitals who care not a whit about bettering the health of Georgia citizens; then a long, constant stream of newspaper articles outlining the entire mess until you will be quite convinced that it was a very very bad idea after all. But hey! The next governor can deal with all of that.

Article of reference:

‘Privatization may not be the Panacea’, DHR budget presentation moves from total privatization, gives few answers to tough questions by Daniel McDonald

McDevitt denied director's position of Albermarle MHC on basis of history at SMC LME: mental health news

How refreshing it would be to have public officials speak their mind & lead us to the truth---- instead of shadow boxing & mincing words.

Instead, what we get is an 'afterthought': whoops, made a boo-boo. Correct, Ms. Wainwright: Tom McDevitt was not a good choice on the basis of persistent (as in 5+ years) of forwarding all the mental health business to his buddy, Joe Ferraro, CEO of Meridian Behavioral Health Services.

As per comments on the below article, it appears that this sentiment of favoring the providers who 'go along to get along' or some criteria that is not available-----was going to set the tone for Albermarle MHC----direly in need of a professional, ethical, non-tarnished leader.

Relatedly, Leza Wainwright, Director of MH within NC DHHS, stated, as pertaining to her removal of Tom McDevitt to head up financially insolvent Albermarle MHC----a day or two after she had appointed him:


"...Leza Wright, director of the state Division of Mental Health, insisted Thursday night that McDevitt, former head of the Smoky Mountain Center mental health agency, was ideally suited to righting the ship at AMHC.

But Friday afternoon, Wainwright told The Daily Advance that “the shadow that had been cast” by some of McDevitt’s activities while he was employed at the SMC would make it difficult for him to succeed at the critical task of rebuilding public trust at AMHC.

Wainwright said she still believed McDevitt, who was appointed to head AMHC earlier this week, would have been successful at two tasks critical to AMHC’s future success: establishing partnerships to provide comprehensive services and restoring sound financial management. ..."

Dear Leza Wainwright: please note one of the comments to this article at the Daily Advance which indicates the problem----about to take place at Albermarle MHC-----which was exactly the problem under McDevitt while he directed Smoky Mountain Center LME:


"Needs to be investigated
01/23/2009 11:25:03 PM
Someone needs to investigate the interim director's preferential treatment to certain local private providers. Personal friends seem to have their information fast-tracked for endorsement. "


McDevitt may not have been fired but he was drummed out of his position and it appears that a well known Dem Haywood county commissioner fell because of her stand re: McDevitt.

Tom McDevitt became increasingly unpopular over here in western NC re:

1. he was pulling down two salaries associated w/ mental health management

2. he allowed his former co-director of SMC, Joe Ferraro (retired from SMC), CEO of Meridian Behavioral Health Services, to pick up the lion's share of mental health services, putting at risk the presence of other professional mental health providers not associated w/ Meridian.

Contrary to what Wainwright suggested, there is no advantage to McDevitt being from the 'other end of the state'; indeed, there is a disadvantage in terms of people in eastern NC not knowing much about what has taken place over here, in western NC.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Why has Smoky Mountain Center been allowed to chase away all the mental health providers in western NC not affiliated w/ Meridian?

OH, boo-hoo. Western NC under those 'western-most counties' has no mental health providers except via Meridian Behavioral Health (aka Smoky Mountain Center LME clinical arm: strictly forbidden!)

Why would that be? Is it because SMC LME feigned its interest in having providers attend aaalllll those meetings, year after year, deep in Cullowhee, NC, administrative headquarters for SMC LME------with providers assuming that their interest and intentions were being honored-----while McDevitt and others associated w/ SMC LME conspired to give all the state funded clients' business (all that the LME managed and monitored) to Meridian Behavioral Health Services, w/ retired SMC LME CEO, Jack Ferraro, retired SMC employee.

Oh, but I digress and here is current reality.

Here's the question which is being sought by a reporter at the Daily Advance associated w/ Albermarle county: Is Tom McDevitt, better known as 'two salary Tom', leaving SMC LME in order to repeat his adventure in eastern NC-----in Albermarle county where they have been doing exactly the same thing----allowing the LME to continue to be both the administrative and clinical arm of the mental health system?

WILL Meridian Behavioral Health Services 'walkabout' and have an office over in Albermarle, courtesy of Tom's side-kick, Joe Ferraro, CEO of Meridian, home office in Sylva, NC?


Mental Health Report readiedBy Colin McCandless

"......Updating the continued study of a potential 160-A local government service provider for mental health services, Smoky Community relations coordinator Shelly Lackey said the planning group comprised of county managers from each Region A county and the county commissioner board members from each county have been working on the proposal.

She said they also have formed smaller groups derived of Smoky and Meridian Behavioral Health staff and the county managers from each county to examine developing some realistic budgets for the 160-A. Likely in the next month or so they will have these budget figures put together and determine if it is something that is viable or sustainable for the future, she said.

The possibility of developing a 160-A intergovernmental service authority for Region A counties (seven westernmost counties) was discussed at the Nov. 10 board of commissioners meeting. If created, the agency would handle mental health services in Region A, including emergency services, psychiatric services and crisis stabilization services.

As a local management entity (LME) Smoky Mountain is not supposed to provide any direct services, but has provided some emergency services in the Southern Region (seven westernmost counties) of Western North Carolina because these counties have no provider to do it.

However, soon SMC will no longer be allowed to offer these direct services.

Lackey said they are permitted to have the one-year waiver to provide the aforementioned mobile crisis as long as they are working towards 160-A or other options. "So I think that took a little of the pressure off," Lackey said.

LME has stated that it believes the creation of a local government service authority for mental health services may be the best option available to create a stable and comprehensive system of care, while freeing up Smoky Mountain to carry out its mandate to manage, but not deliver services.

Lackey also briefly discussed the background of Smoky's interim area director Don Suggs, who has come out of retirement to fill the void left by the Dec. 31 resignation of Tom McDevitt. He will remain in the position until the search process for a permanent replacement is complete.

Suggs is the former area director of New River Behavioral Health, where he served in a variety of positions throughout his career prior to his retirement in July 2007 when New River merged with Smoky.The next regularly scheduled mental health task force meeting is 9 a.m., Friday, Feb. 20, in the Angel Medical Center video conference room, third floor...."

Sunday, January 11, 2009

How has Cansler created 'safe harbor' or invisibility re: his Medicaid oriented companies? : mental health providers want to know

Cansler was in his job as Deputy Secretary of NC DHHS, just under Carmen Hooker Odom (remember her) for 4-5 years, not the previously stated two years, according to this report:


"Cansler is a former DHHS deputy secretary who left his state job in 2005 after four years."

Why is this important? Because it means he was fully invested about the evisceration of NC mental health. He didn't just hang out for a couple of years and then move into the private sphere.


From the Raleigh News Observer: (Note: Cansler, just appointed by Perdue as NC Secretary of DHHS, 'was' a lobbyist for the Virginia based Computer Sciences Corp):

State awards $265m service contract

"The state has awarded one of its biggest service contracts to Computer Sciences Corp., a Virginia-based company that bid $265.2 million to build and operate a computer system to pay Medicaid claims.

The state selected CSC last month over Electronic Data Systems, a Texas company that has had the job since 1977. EDS bid $287.3 million for the work. Hiring a company to build and run a new Medicaid bill-paying system has been a long and contentious process. This is the second time in about four years that the state has tried to find a company to manage its Medicaid claims."

Why is this important?

1. EDS has done a really good job re: reimbursements and I am here to state that as re: being a private provider who interfaces with them. Their computer software, specifically,, works very efficiently. Its easy to navigate and I am paid efficiently. But then, the providers are never asked about what they would like to have happen-----even in the face of a collapsing mental health care reform fiasco.

Also from the Raleigh News Observer, re: Cansler's appointment:

"He started a consulting and lobbying firm, Cansler Fuquay Solutions, and developed a client list that includes work for companies that do business with DHHS."

Why is this important?

1. Who is on the client list?

2. How has he created 'safe harbor', which is a Medicare derived term meant to outline how a public official has 'parked' his or her private interests? This is very much related to conflict of interest. Remember: we all understand that there was something nefarious about how Dick Cheney found 'safe harbor' as he kicked business to Halliburton. He can retire to Wyoming, undoubtedly, a billionaire.

What is Cansler's CURRENT (& you might better take into account his relationship last week since he seems to have done some quick 'which cup is the button under' switching around very recently) status in terms of the board/ as a stockholder/ as having created legal invisibility & safe harbor re:

1. Fuqua Cansler Enterprises
2. Computer Sciences Corporation
3. the client list associated w/ Fuqua Cansler Enterprises.

McDevitt's Evergreen Foundation joined at hip to Meridian Behavioral Health: interest free housing loans up to $500,000/ projects 4 mental health cl

Clever guy. You gotta give that to him.

"Sweetest Deal

While the state’s mental health system lay in shambles, the director of a regional mental health agency was having a bit of an easier go. Smoky Mountain Center for Mental Health Director Tom McDevitt allegedly paid himself two salaries, gave himself special perks, and changed the date of his hire to dodge taxes on his retirement benefits. McDevitt also paid his wife commission for real estate transactions and used a loophole in the agency’s guidelines to employ his daughter. All the while, McDevitt raked in one of the highest six-figure salaries in the state among those with comparable positions.

McDevitt cemented his authority by convincing his board to approve a five-year contract, an unusual request for a mental health agency director. But he didn’t leave much room for the 30 members of the Smoky Mountain Center board to question his activities — McDevitt attempted to amend the board’s bylaws with a phrase that threatened consequences for speaking negatively about the agency.

After a Smoky Mountain News investigation shed light on some of McDevitt’s activities, the board of the agency took swift action and called for McDevitt’s resignation."


TA DA: Encore! Encore!

Waynesville, NC newspaper, The Mountaineer, January 9, 2009, page 2A

"McDevitt Honored

....assumes director of The Evergreen Foundation......"

And who is the Evergreen Foundation?


Get Phone Number

PO BOX 2089
SYLVA, NC, 28779-2089
Employee Identification Number: 561351883
Ruling Date: June 1983
Deductions: Contributions are deductible
Activity: Mental health care
Activity: Gifts, grants, or loans to other organizations.
Organization Type: Corporation
Latest Return Filed: June 2005
Filing Requirement: 990 - All other or 990EZ return. No 990PF return.
Fiscal Year End Date: June
Asset Amount : $ 14,875,709
Income Amount: $1,370,144
Form 990 Revenue Amount: $1,270,385
Organization Type: Community Mental Health Center

There is something currently very strange going on re: Meridian Behavioral Health (they're the people that get the lion's share of all the mental health funding vis a vis SMC LME) and Smoky Mountain Center LME (the largest LME in NC).

A person who is an employee there and an acquaintance of mine indicated that there is talk that, 'there's got to be a decision about what we're going to be called....Smoky Mountain Center or Meridian.'

Odd, given that all the LME's in eastern NC are being driven to DIVEST of their holding onto their employees who continue to be not just administrative but clinical also. If you'll recall, one of the main thrusts of NC mental health reform was specifically associated with separating the clinical from the administrative. SMC LME has distinctly not done that, though there be two different names.

Gosh, is that because SMC LME has ALWAYS BEEN MERIDIAN?

Something smells here. As per people I know in Waynesville, NC, the largest, in terms of concentrated population, service area for SMC LME-----feigning to be (and vice versa) Meridian Behavioral Health (CEO of Meridian was co-director of SMC LME, Joe Ferraro, working at SMC LME for 17 years)------there is housing which is being paid for via Meridian which must be associated w/ this: 'General Assembly allocated 10.9 million to the Housing Trust Fund (NCHFA) for rental housing development and $1.2 million to the NC DHHS for operating subsidy.

Enter the Supportive Housing Development Program:

The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency’s Supportive Housing Development Program helps nonprofits, local governments, and lead regional organizations develop emergency, transitional and permanent housing for persons who are homeless and/or have disabilities.
The program provides interest-free loans up to $500,000 per development. To qualify, projects must include or make available appropriate support services for the residents.,12,Housing

Housing 400 Initiative:,13,Housing 400 Initiative

Capital Funds for SHDP 400 and PLP 400
Rental Assistance for SHDP 400, PLP 400, and Key Program

So, we've got this Evergreen Foundation, creating housing with a 2005 asset value of over $ 14 million and Tom McDevitt and Joe Ferraro are somehow associated w/ it.

Here is the request I wrote to that agency that manages this funding:

I am investigating the usage of SHDP housing in western NC which would have been obtained via Smoky Mountain Center LME and Meridian Behavioral Health, who probably both applied, as 501 c3 agencies, for SHDP housing. Is there a list of housing associated w/ their usage of the SHDP monies? Is there an overall list for NC as associated w/ these funds for the past five years online somewhere?
Thanks for your assistance.
Marsha V. Hammond, PhD
For more information, please contact please contact Mike Mittenzwei (919-877-5654 or, Margrit Bergholz (919-877-5633 or mcbergholz, Gwen Belcredi (919-877-5648 or or Mary Reca Todd (919-877-5672 or

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Against the law? BCBSNC reimburses mental health benefits at 50% and medical benefits at 80%

I just received my BCBSNC Summary of Benefits. My family of three has a modest insurance policy. For $750/ month, and a $2500 deductible, we get access to medications for a $15-50 copay; we get office visits for a reasonable fee (under $20). If we have to have surgery, mammograms, colonoscopies (covered by law! ya know), you have to meet the $2500 deductible before you can get reimbursement at 80%-----

all except mental health and substance abuse services.

My Summary of Benefits states:


"Combined in and out of network $2000 benefit period maximum per member, and combined in- and out- of network lifetime maximum of $10,000 per member, provided in all places of service. Any services in excess of this benefit period maximum or lifetime maximum are not covered services."

Covered: 50% AFTER DEDUCTIBLE In NetworkCovered

50% AFTER DEDUCTIBLE Out of Network


Summary of Benefits:Outpatient Services: 80% AFTER DEDUCTIBLE
Ambulatory Surgical Center: 80% AFTER DEDUCTIBLE
Inpatient Hospital Services: 80% AFTER DEDUCTIBLE
Maternity and Elective Termination of Pregnancy: 80% AFTER DEDUCTIBLE
Skilled Nursing Facility: 80% AFTER DEDUCTIBLEOther Services:


I dunno: print is pretty black and white. Why do my medical benefits get more extensive coverage (no $10,000 cap) versus what mental health coverage gets and why are services reimbursed at a rate DIFFERENT than the medical benefits when the state law indicates the following:


"New mental-health law to startInsurance industry must offer equal coverage

Starting today, insurance companies in North Carolina must provide the same level of coverage for some mental illnesses that they do for physical ailments.That means that someone being treated for depression or schizophrenia can no longer be charged a higher co-payment (or face other inequities in coverage) than someone being treated for diabetes or a broken arm...."


Really? I can't believe they get away with these kind of things.

Think you can get the Department of Insurance interested in these things? NAH.

Think you can get your state legislator interested in what impacts their constituents? NAH.

Been there/ done that. Shame 'em is what I have to aim for.

1960's Legacy: exposure of malfeasance trumps Lincoln's 'better angels of our nature' re: NC mental health reform OR What We Can Expect from Cansler

I've been thrown off a few listservs as ssociated with my pointed remarks about the persistent problems associated with NC mental health reform. I think to myself: am I so a child of the 60's that I cannot entertain Lincoln's pleas which more modernly can be framed as, 'why can't we all just get along even though we differ on how it should be done?'

Here is Abe (Obama is going to use his Bible at the upcoming innauguration, I've heard) attempting to soothe the southern states in terms of their concerns that once all their slaves run off, how are they gonna get them back, particularly since the non-Southern states are anti-slavery:

"My countrymen, one and all, think calmly and well upon this whole subject......

Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people?

Before entering upon so grave a matter as the destruction of our national fabric, with all its benefits, its memories, and its hopes, would it not be wise to ascertain precisely why we do it?

Will you hazard so desperate a step while there is any possibility that any portion of the ills you fly from have no real existence? Will you, while the certain ills you fly to are greater than all the real ones you fly from, will you risk the commission of so fearful a mistake?....

We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

Something has happened to our America culture. Maybe it WAS the 60's that taught us that oppression can be met with force; that disagreements can hot-foot it to conflagration when both parties are dug in.

How we get dug in is perhaps related to a realization that much more quickly people are going to pick their sides rather than be swept along with their fingernails running over the chalk board, mile after mile.

To my mind, when the state of NC set its mind, under Cansler (2000-2001) as the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, with Carmen Hooker Odom as his immediate boss, to eviscerate community mental health and substitute it with the expanded-upon-notion of 'competition !', which would surely promote better mental health care services, the state of NC threw down the gauntlet.

They declared a war on public health policy.

And in the 60's, many people no longer accepted that 'the man' knew best. This set into motion a movement that remains with the American people. Some might say we opened to the door to cynicism.

But cynicism, most efficiently applied, is the last turn-off after one has tried other solutions.

Prior to that, one reads the signs for these turn-offs:

'We know what's best'

'We're too far down that road now'

'Let's be positive as much as possible'

I see no reason to assume that Cansler will do anything other than continue what he did under Hooker Odom. Why should I? Why should I believe that he is now lock, stock, and barrel the property of NC citizens? Because Perdue says so? That's no lady, that's 'the man.'

Under the Republican Bush administration, lying transcended and trumped straight talk to the point that you could predict the direction of something by spinning the official statements 180 degrees.

Just because NC is run by Democrats does not mean that they have some different moral take on how to do things.

Why should I believe that given the evidence that he manipulated that system----as would any savy, go-getter, gotta make that money while I can, upwardly mobile white guy-----who took his contacts and founded a company that massively profited from those contacts and information, be someone to trust as Secretary of NC DHHS?

Sorry, its not me that has to prove my point. My point is simply grounded in Cansler's history which is publicly available. It does not really matter how many editorials talk about what a swell guy he is. Its sickening to hear the sound of journalists' arms being broken in the back rooms which are undoubtedly the result of , 'we gotta a call from the gov'na.'

It's Cansler that has to prove that he is here to work for NC citizens. Meanwhile,I will assume he will continue to act as he has----honing his contacts and anticipating how this will profit him in the future---- and this you can take the bank, my friend:


What can we expect then, based on his past behavior?

Nepotism :

that 'paling around' with people who were in your past and would like to be in your future. Cansler got to make all those millions as associated with his well honed contacts he made while Deputy Secretary of NC DHHS.

Doing the same thing but call it another name:

Since Cansler participated w/ Visingardi and Hooker Odom to 'capitalize'!---on not only his connections he was making at NC DHHS----but as associated w/ the-notion-that-will-not-go-away, namely, 'competition'-----we can expect more brightly packaged investment in that.

Naive student-like public health policy:

The Charlotte Observer, this past week, obliquely (are they that sophisticated?) termed Cansler to have been an avid 'student of public health policy.'

Accounting emphasis:

Cansler has been stated to be a certified public accountant. I imagine that his strong suit will be counting the $$$$$ as they fly out the window on those 'useless' Community Support Services which will continue to be downsized until the Endorsed Provider companies are in shackles. Where you go after that, I can't imagine or don't want to imagine.....since you long ago passed the exit on the freeway entitled, ''We're too far down that road now.'

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Cansler, new Secretary of NC DHHS, must have 'sold his stake' in Medicaid oriented business, like, LAST WEEK

I don't have---and probably never will have----this kind of money. But in scratching my head, like Peter Falk in Columbo, I want to know, how does someone sell their stake in their business that is making millions of dollars in a week's time?

Where was the news 'hiding'? You mean, perhaps, that Cansler created a contract that allowed him to revolving door style, come BACK to his company when he finishes the job on NC DHHS.

Or maybe its this way: he sold his stake like Dick Cheney 'sold his stake' in Haliburton-----the biggest money profiteer this country has ever seen......

from: this week`s electronic update from NC SPIN:

Heard on the Street
Posted: Thursday, January 8th, 2009
Perdue’s team named

"....The cause of controversy concerning this appointment is because Cansler wasco-owner of a consulting firm that helped negotiate and secure a $265 milliondollar contract with DHHS regarding processing and payment of Medicaid claims.Many worry about conflicts of interest going forward. We talked with theincoming Secretary about this very topic and he is very aware of the concernsabout potential conflicts. He was quite candid in telling us that GovernorPerdue`s team was well aware of everything prior to his being offered theposition. He was quite willing to talk about the subject. His firm was onretainer to help Computer Sciences Corporation and Cansler says there was nobonus or trailing income for the successful award of the contract. He has sincesold his stake in the business and Cansler assured us, as he has everyone whohas asked, that he will do everything humanly possible to ensure the success ofthe contract for the people of the state......

Lanier Cansler is an honorable man and excellent choice to head this highly troubled department. .... "

Really? I thought I just heard the sound of someone's arm being broken as it was twisted over at NC Policy.

Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer-----ah, maybe that was Perdue's sophisticated strategy.

Sure. That's it.

Cansler mental health advocate 'support' was private provider, The Arc

I was wondering who all those 'mental health advocates who supported Cansler as a choice' were.

Come out, come out, wherever you are: who were the mental health 'advocates' besides The Arc that supported the appointment of Mr. Revolving Door Cansler?

So, he was a lobbyist for:

1. The Arc (mental health provider)

2. Value Options, the authorizing agent for NC Medicaid services

3. the company that snatched the Medicaid contract away from EDS which does the billing for NC Medicaid.


So he assisted Visingardi in eviscerating mental health in NC via privatization (provides competition!). Then seeing how badly things were going, his smart accountant head saw the EXIT sign; quick revolve around, make some big bucks, seat some of his friends (those 'mental health advocates' making money off of mentally ill people), and VOILA, back in the ringleader's seat.

I find it hard to imagine how Perdue could have made a WORSE choice.

Gosh, I better run over and see if I can get a job as a 'consultant' with The Arc before they read this post.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Perdue picks a lobbyist who just made $265 million for his Medicaid-oriented company as NC DHHS Secretary of State : HEAD FOR THE EXITS

The guy that Perdue just appointed as Secretary of the Department of Human Services is a considerably WORSE CHOICE THAN EVEN DEMPSEY BENTON WHO HAD NO MENTAL HEALTH EXPERIENCE.

So, here we have a lobbyist, who used to hang out as a deputy for a few years in the NC DHHS, who revolving door, flipped out into the private industry----making use of his connections coming from that direction-----who just made $265 million for a company that processes Medicaid claims and is going to be the NC Secretary of Health & Human Services which PROCESSES authorizations for Medicaid?

The Charlotte Observer termed Cansler to be, "a serious student of public policy." We don't need a 'student'; we need a seasoned mental health provider w/ a 'serious interest' in accounting & business.

The company for which he IS working for-----if 'this week' can be termed to be current-----just won a massive amount of money to process Medicaid claims. "Lanier Cansler, a former deputy secretary at DHHS and a former state legislator, is a registered lobbyist for CSC, according to the N.C. Secretary of State's office. ...The state has awarded one of its biggest service contracts to Computer Sciences Corp., a Virginia-based company that bid $265.2 million to build and operate a computer system to pay Medicaid claims...."

Bravo, Perdue. This is why this Registered Dem voted for the Republican candidate for governor. You indicated you had 'vetted' him as associated w/ mental health advocates. I guess you forgot to ask about what he was up to THIS WEEK.

Recall the governor.

Marsha V. Hammond, PhD

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Smoky Mountain News: Haywood Regional has 6 adult mental health beds open; western NC lost detox unit w/ closure of Balsam Cntr

Julia Merchant continues her fine coverage associated w/ the Waynesville area of western NC. The Balsam Center which was able to offer detox, has closed in order to shift nurses to Haywood Regional Hospital where there will be 15 or 16 anticipated adult psychiatric beds. There are only 6 beds open at this time.

Here is her fine article: Nurse shortage forces closure of mental health facilityBy Julia Merchant • Staff Writer

(cut and paste):

“The one thing that has been critical that the Center has provided is detox,” said Trantham. “There is a tremendous need for it not just in our area, but across the whole state.”
The closure of the Center’s detox facility means there will be more competition for fewer places offering detox.
“We’re all going to be struggling to get access to that,” Trantham said.
Detox facilites are few and far between because they’re expensive to run, and 80 percent of individuals who use them don’t have insurance, said Trantham. That means the state must provide a significant amount of money to subsidize an often expensive detox program, and there’s inadequate funding to do so, Trantham said.
Addictions to drugs like methamphetamine are a critical problem in western areas of the state, so the need for a detox facility here is great.
“The real need today, more than ever, is for detox,” said Beale. Caring for drug and alcohol addicts who don’t get help can be a major drain on county services, Beale added.