NC Policy Watch
Mental health morass continues
The problems with the state's mental health system continue to mount as the News & Observer prepares to publish a major series on the issue beginning Sunday. Just this week, a major non-profit provider of substance abuse services in the Western Piedmont was dismissed by one of the state's Local Management Entities in a dispute about how data is reported.
There is no standard procedure or even software for all LMEs or providers to use, something that you would think would have been in place long ago. The decision to fire the nonprofit means that four different substance abuse providers have tried to work with the LME in the last 26 months and failed. Something clearly isn't working.
Also this week, news that people in Southeastern North Carolina who need services may end up on a waiting list instead. Officials at the LME in that area say that state funding for services is $2.4 million less than they expected.
State officials say the lower amount simply follows state policy. That ought to go over well with families trying to find services for loved ones, that an LME and state officials disagree on who is following policy and the result is that people don't get the help they need.
And finally, news Friday that Mike Moseley, the head of the state Division of Mental Health, Development Disability, and Substance Abuse Services, is retiring at the end of the month.
It does not come as a complete surprise. Moseley has been under fire for all the problems in the mental health system and hasn't done himself any favors with some of his public statements responding to them.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Dempsey Benton also declined an opportunity to give Moseley a vote of confidence at a news conference a few weeks ago. Benton also recently took oversight of the states troubled mental hospitals away from Moseley.
Maybe Moseley's resignation and this week's troubles are all part of righting the sinking mental health ship, but it's hard to have much confidence that is true, given the history of the reform effort.