The NC General Assembly officially convened on January 13th and used the first two weeks of the long session to select committee members and appoint chairs. They reconvened on January 27th and began deliberations. Bills are slowly being introduced and committee work has not yet gotten underway.
There are some new and familiar leaders in health and human service committees. Three of the four Co-Chairs for the House HHS Appropriations are now health care providers. Rep. Kristin Baker is a physician, Rep. Donna White is a registered nurse and Rep. Wayne Sasser is a pharmacist. Sen. Perry is a co-chair of the Senate HHS Appropriations and his career has been in medical organization personnel. HHS also includes some members that have extensive legislative experience on health and human service issues including Reps. Cunningham, Insko and Lambeth and Sens. Krawiec and Robinson. There is now a House Families, Children and Aging Policy Committee. The members include medical professionals, educators, law enforcement, a judge, a pastor and a funeral homeowner.
Ombudsman Contract Awarded to Legal Aid of North Carolina
NC DHHS announced that they have awarded the Ombudsman contract for Medicaid managed care to Legal Aid of North Carolina. The Ombudsman role is a federally mandated component of the 1115 Medicaid waiver that gives NC the authority to move forward with integrated Medicaid managed care.
In 2018, i2i wrote about the ombudsman as a role in managed care that is specifically positioned to provide the most objective assistance to Medicaid beneficiaries and their legal representatives...
Governor’s Council Recommends Expanding Access to Health Care Coverage
The concept of expanding Medicaid has been met with fierce debate in North Carolina—even to the point of causing a budget impasse between the Governor and the NC General Assembly. The NC Council for Health Care Coverage was a bipartisan, diverse group of legislative, business and State government leaders convened by Governor Cooper to discuss Medicaid expansion and other options for increasing access to health care coverage.
The i2i Center and Benchmarks teamed up to offer a webinar for Providers, Managers and others on embedding System of Care (SOC) guiding principles into provider value-based services under the Tailored Plan and over 700 system leaders attended.
System of Care is nationally recognized as a framework that includes interagency collaboration, individualized strengths-based care, cultural competence, family and youth involvement, community-based services and accountability. These values align with the vision for Medicaid managed care and, more importantly, with whole person, integrated care. Read more
A new page on the i2i website is aimed at Training & Resource Sharing. The plan is for this page to become a central location for useful trainings, events, resources and information.
Jean Overstreet, i2i's Development and Communications Director said, "The plan to post helpful webinar recordings, upcoming training information, conferences, events, articles and other resources. There is so much going on in our system, i2i wants to help centralize some of what is available to assist people find what they need."
If you have information you would like to share, please email email@example.com .
A Message from the New i2i Executive Director
I am so honored to be the new Executive Director of the i2i Center for Integrative Health. As many of you know, I have been with i2i since its inception in January 2018 and with the legacy organization, the NC Council of Community Programs, since 1994. I have a family member who gives me the same reply every time we get into a discussion about whether a job can be a positive part of your life or drudgery, “Yeah, but you like your job!”. And, you know what? It is absolutely true! I am a policy wonk and health and human services is what I love most.
Legislative Breakfast Shines a Light on Mental Health
The 43rd Legislative Breakfast on Mental Health was held on January 30th. Much of the discussion was centered on the “uptick” of mental health needs because of the pandemic and the critical need to address the gap in health insurance coverage. Donna Carrington, Executive Director of the Community Empowerment Fund, was the speaker representing individuals with lived experience. Ms. Carrington used her personal experience to exemplify the ongoing need to improve racial equity and health care access to a workforce that represents and understands the needs and perspectives of individuals of color.
NC Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice Issues 2020 Final Report
The Task Force was established by Governor Roy Cooper in June 2020 to “focus on addressing existing policies and procedures that disproportionately affect communities of color and developing solutions to ensure racial equity in North Carolina’s criminal justice system.” They have now issued their 2020 final report. The report includes recommendations related to the juvenile justice system and points out the connection between individuals who went through Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and are involved in the criminal justice system. Audience) Why should they care? (Benefit) What do I want them to do here? (Call-to-Action)
Biden Administration Offers Focused COVID Strategy to Protect Individuals with Disabilities and Opens ACA Enrollment
In the 200 page National Strategy for COVID-19 Response and Preparedness, January 2021 plan and among the many executive orders signed, President Biden is paying particular attention to individuals with disabilities and laying out new strategies to protect them from COVID-19 moving forward. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to issue new focused guidance for this population.
i2i Establishes the Mary Hooper Consumer & Family Member Participation Fund
With the retirement of Executive Director Mary Hooper at the end of December, the i2i Center announced the Mary Hooper Consumer & Family Member Participation Fund as a new i2i donation category, in honor of Mary’s work with i2i, to provide scholarships to consumers, family members and advocates. This initiative will support the inclusion of consumers in i2i’s collaborative initiatives, conferences and trainings. We hope you will take the opportunity to support this important initiative.
Courtney Cantrell, Carol Clayton, Betsy Crais, Kelly Friedlander, Joy Futrell, Laurie Hibbert, Leslie Kellenberger, Karen Kranbuehl, Mike Lewis, Amelia Muse
Michael Owen, Rob Robinson, Gene Rodgers, Andrew Walsh
Key Federal Interim Appointments Made
President Biden has nominated Xavier Becerra as the US Health and Human Services Secretary. His appointment has not yet been confirmed by the Senate, but is expected. Other key appointments have been made in the interim:
Tom Coderre has been appointed as Acting Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Abuse. He will oversee SAMHSA until a permanent appointment is made. Coderre is a person with lived experience and the first person in recovery to lead SAMHSA. He has been working at SAMHSA as the Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the Administrator.
Elizabeth Reichter has been named as Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) until a permanent appointment has been made. Ms. Reichter has been with CMS since 1990.
Telehealth Survey Finds High Satisfaction Among Members, Providers
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the delivery of and access to healthcare across the US. To better understand the impact of these changes on services, Alliance conducted member and provider surveys to identify barriers, benefits, and gaps related to telehealth services. Overall, the satisfaction reported with telehealth services was near the level of reported satisfaction with In-person services.
During the pandemic, mental health struggles and substance use are increasing for many people. Old Vineyard Behavioral Health Services continues to make changes to meet these challenges. To respond to these needs, Old Vineyard added services with virtual access. Our clinical admissions team offers online assessments as on option for individuals who prefer this method over an in-person meeting. If you are a provideror clinician, you can also call and set up an assessment while the patient is in your office.