DHHS pushes Medicaid in new direction; wants feedback

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- The way North Carolina handles Medicaid is changing; it has been for a few years. At least, state leaders have been talking about what change should look like for years. And Tuesday, the NC Department of Health and Human Services announced they have come up with what amounts to a road map for a move to a system called care management.

DHHS just posted its first public draft of the plan for the transition, the reasons behind it, and what the landscape should look like once the metamorphosis is complete. Sec. Mandy Cohen described the new system as "innovative whole-person centered with well-coordinated efforts at managed care" in which they will "integrate services for physical and behavioral care management."

Ok. That's a mouthful. If you want to get under the hood, check out the full report. Otherwise, here are a few things Cohen said people should know off the bat:

- Nothing is changing anytime soon. DHHS is asking for feedback before September 8th but Sec. Cohen says nothing will change until July 1, 2019.

- The program touches every aspect of care and is designed as a holistic approach to care with a focus on physical and mental health together. "It means not just thinking about a person's health needs inside of the four walls of a hospital but thinking comprehensively about a whole person's health," said Cohen. "That's nutritious food, transportation, places that are safe to live."

- Cohen says the plan to move to a managed care system "builds on what we're doing well already."

Among the states Cohen says her team leaned most heavily on were Tennessee when it came to managed care and Arizona for behavior health.

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