Sunday, February 12, 2012

State Funded Mental Health Care Clients Wait Times for Inpt Treatment DAYS and DAYS

This blog response is created as pertaining to Richard Craver's excellent and detail article associated with the wait time for state funded mental health care clients for inpatient hospitalization. 'State funded clients' are those who have no insurance: no Medicaid, no Medicare, nothing. The original purpose of NC mental health care reform, lest we forget what a fine incentive it has become, was to provide mental health care for ALL citizens of NC and thus the category of 'state funded client' was created. The other agenda was to 'privatize' mental health care, because, dontchaknow, there's lots of money to be made doing this and of course that will create competition and then voila the best (read: the biggest company paying their workers the least money) will win out.

Here is Craver's article and below is my comment. You have to be on facebook to create a comment. It would be nice if people would.


As associated with the massive paperwork for Western Highlands Network (WHN) LME in western NC, I stopped seeing state funded clients over 5 years ago. Now, WHN LME is participating (they are demanded by NC DHHS) in yet another tier of paperwork barriers as associated with mental health care, this time, pertaining to Medicaid clients.

To be truthful, provider applications for being 'in-network' essentially----THOUGH I HAVE BEEN A MEDICAID PROVIDER FOR 10 YEARS IN NC-----were to have been into the Provider Relations Department at WHN LME by the end of December. How I dreaded all those pages of paperwork. I had filled in provider paperwork for WHN LME back when I was seeing state funded clients but of course none of that paperwork could be used though it is completely duplicitous except for the matters of updating one's malpractice insurance coverage.

So, now we have been requested to submit a request to create a request to become an 'in-network' provider as per WHN LME. The first Friday I called about this, two weeks ago this past Friday, I was passed around 7 times until I finally called Arthur Carder's (the CEO) office. I simply had a question about a form.

Then, I was required to turn in my tax return, a page indicating 'who I was servicing' in terms of Medicaid clients (an indication of 'need'), as well as other paperwork. This was ONLY the request to get to the reqesst of the larger body of paperwork. This past week I called the Director of Provider Relations at WHN three separte days, leaving 3 polite messages. Then I decided I would take a go at it again this coming Tuesday, which will be 2 weeks since I turned in the request to get to the request to be an in-network provider----though I have worked w/ NC Medicaid clients and billed and contract completely independently via NC DHHS.

This multi-days wait time in order to get in-patient mental health treatment for state funded clients----which most all providers rid themselves of years ago----even though that was the original intention of NC Mental Health Reform, is simply a preview of the similar treatment now that the LME's have been fully funded, with their waivers, to manage Medicaid $$---LME by LME.

The state legislature should have given the money to the providers in order that we create efficient, motivated, research-driven outpatient therapy. Instead, we now have multi-million $$ funded LME's who cannot answer their phone calls or get their paperwork done.

When it is seen that NC Medicaid has 'saved' all that money----it will be because the providers have sucked wind, gone under, and generally been unable to call day after day, fill in ream after ream of paperwork----to simply see a client for outpatient mental health.

As is true for any health care in the US, it is idiocy to spend much of the health care money for the purposes of administrating something that could be centrally managed.

Marsha V. Hammond, PhD, Licensed Psychologist, Asheville, NC
NC Mental Health Reform blogspot, since 2007:


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