General Assembly Continues Work To Reform Mental Health

During the first month of the 2012 Short Session, members of the North Carolina General Assembly have introduced a number of bills affecting the state’s mental health care system. The majority of these bills focuses on the transition of Local Management Entities (LME) to Managed Care Organizations (MCO) under the statewide expansion of the 1915 (b)(c) Medicaid waiver, which was done last year with the passage of HB 916.

  • HB 1055 – Eliminate LME Provider Endorsement (Dollar, R-Wake): Under current law, LMEs have the ability to monitor and endorse providers of mental health, developmental disabilities and substance abuse services. LMEs can remove a provider’s endorsement if the provider failed to meet quality criteria, provide required training or provide data to the LME.  This bill proposes to do away with LME endorsement of providers altogether.
  • HB 1075 – LME/MCO Governance (Dollar, R-Wake) suggests several changes to the laws governing LME Board Structure including an increased role for consumers in LME management.  The bill allows LMEs to borrow money and protect competitive health care information as well as create broader Behavioral Health Authorities after they’ve operated under the waiver for three years. Recent amendments to this bill include the provision to provide for hospital representation on LME boards as well as to put in place a clearly defined process for consumer and provider appeals. This bill was heard by the Senate Mental Health Committee this week and is expected to be debated by the full Senate next week.

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