Sunday, February 08, 2009

Mental health providers seeking bridge loans to continue functioning in western NC : Two Models in WNC, neither which works re: state funded clients

There are two models of rendering mental health services to state funded clients in western NC and neither works for different reasons. These are the two models which are guiding one quarter of all of NC's countiesas per the only two LME's in western NC.

1. Western Highlands Network model which was created post New Vistas failure (which covered 10,000 lives) about 3 years ago, such that many Endorsed Provider companies picked up clients w/ mental health challenges

2. Smoky Mountain Center (SMC) LME which privileged one company, Meridian Behavioral Health Services, run by retired SMC LME employee Joe Ferraro----effectively cutting out most of the other Endorsed Provider companies.

Word out is that SMC LME will have to shed Meridian or have a name change re: it being de facto its clinical arm.

REMEMBER THIS: all the LME's have so far done is to manage the state funded mental health care authorizations and reimbursements. Yes, they have scrutinized Medicaid services associated w/ Community Support Services but their main agenda so far has been associated with THE UNINSURED OF NC. No Medicaid/ no medicare/ no health insurance of any kind: the working poor.

Western Highlands Network (WHN) LME spread out the services to various Endorsed Provider companies for state funded clients when New Vistas crashed (the day I heard Mike Moseley talk in Culowhee, NC, home of Smoky Mountain Center LME, stating what a 'swell job we've done').

Guess what: the larger Endorsed Provider companies can't make it pertaining to delays and problems w/ the funding/ payment of the state funded system.

Someone better rethink these problems AND FAST.

Mental health providers feel economic strain
• published February 7, 2009 12:15 am

Read all 18 comments »
ASHEVILLE – The economic meltdown has hit mental health service providers, and several are asking the area management agency for bridge loans because they can't get credit to keep their cash flow up.

Alpha-Omega Mental Health Services, which operates in rural Madison, Mitchell and Yancey counties, asked for $350,000, and Patton Counseling Services in Asheville asked for $125,000 from Western Highlands Network.

“It's a timely reimbursement issue,” said Christine Kudlate, CEO of Patton.

Dan Zorn, CEO of Families Together, said state-funded services can take months to be reimbursed, leaving businesses short on cash.

Joe Martin of Alpha-Omega said he has paid some bills out of his own pocket.

“Without this help, we will have to sit down and make some serious business decisions,” Martin said.

Alpha-Omega is the only mental health services provider in the three-county area; five other service providers have either closed or stopped providing mental health and substance abuse services.

“We stepped into the breach when New Vistas/Mountain Laurel closed in 2006,” Martin said. “We took on the services for these three counties. We have undergone a restructuring to cut costs.”

The board agreed to lend Alpha-Omega $175,000 Friday, and the rest could be granted after a meeting with the provider.

Western Highlands has helped a number of service providers in the last two years. New Vistas, the large nonprofit created when mental health reform took effect six years ago, went under in 2006, and dozens of smaller agencies took on the estimated 10,000 people served by New Vistas.

Several agencies have needed help to support the expansion of their businesses.

Board member Steve Wyatt, of Henderson County, was concerned about the number of agencies coming to Western Highlands for help.

“I'm starting to feel like the federal government bailing out all these failing businesses,” he said.
But Martin said the money is a loan, not a grant, and posed it as a pay-now-or-pay-later deal.
“The question becomes: Do we help someone who stepped into the breach, or do you bring in someone else when we can't do the job anymore?” Martin said.

Families Together got a bridge loan of $450,000 recently as an advance on money it is owed by the state."


Post a Comment

<< Home