mecklink

Ben Bradford / WFAE

As of today, the Mecklenburg County government no longer oversees mental health, substance abuse, or disability services for the county. MeckLINK—the organization it built to handle those services—closed today, as the larger, outside agency Cardinal Innovations takes over. MeckLINK operated for little over a year, but that tenure spurred fights with state lawmakers for control, cost the county millions of dollars, and contributed to the fall of two top county officials.


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.


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Tasnim Shamma

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MeckLINK

By state-mandate, Mecklenburg County’s mental health agency MeckLINK will lose its Medicaid contract at the end of March, less than a year after the county hired more than 200 employees and launched the agency as part of a statewide reorganization. Now county staff are working to save the jobs of the employees MeckLINK has hired.


Mecklenburg County commissioners voted 7-2 last night to work out an agreement to turn oversight of mental health, substance abuse, and disability care to Cardinal Innovations, less than a year after the county launched its own agency, MeckLINK, at a cost of more than $8 million. The county started MeckLINK because of a state reorganization, and now it has to give it up because of another one.


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.


MeckLINK

Mecklenburg County commissioners are poised to give up the county’s new mental health agency, MeckLINK, less than a year after it opened for business. The state is forcing their hand.


North Carolina General Assembly

In the waning moments of a year-long battle with the state over its mental health services agency, MeckLINK, the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners has approved some accounting tricks to maintain its leverage over the agency’s fate.


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.


Mecklenburg County

Mecklenburg County’s mental health patients are being denied care they have grown accustomed to, after a statewide reorganization cut money available for Medicaid mental health. Mecklenburg County set up the agency, MeckLINK, to manage the remaining funds. The agency's officials blame the state for cutbacks, but providers say denials to patients for service exceed the amount cut by the state.

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