Cardinal lnnovations

Mecklenburg County government will continue to supplement state and federal Medicaid dollars for mental health services with its own money. The county has provided those funds for years, but their fate has been in limbo, as officials prepare to hand over mental health oversight to an outside organization.


Ben Bradford / WFAE

Mecklenburg County commissioners met with the leadership team of Cardinal Innovations on Monday afternoon, in one of the final steps as the county prepares to surrender oversight of its mental health patients and millions of dollars in Medicaid funds. Commissioners had three requests for Cardinal, but little leverage to negotiate.


Last year, North Carolina changed how it provides mental health care for those on Medicaid. The state put 11 regional organizations, called MCOs, in charge and gave them less money to work with. So, cuts to care were expected.

About half of these MCOs, including MeckLINK in Charlotte, have denied upward of 20 percent of requests for care, according to self-reported data from the organizations. Patients can appeal, but North Carolina has made the process far more difficult.