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...."


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