Alliance Opens Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center in Raleigh

(Raleigh, NC) – Alliance Health, in collaboration with Wake County, has developed and opened a new service in Raleigh to help people who are experiencing a behavioral health crisis. Much like the physical health urgent care facilities that are becoming common in our communities, a behavioral health urgent care center provides rapid assessment of an individual’s situation, routine intervention, and referrals for follow up services.

The goal of behavioral health urgent care centers is to provide a community-based option to stabilize individuals experiencing behavioral health crises in a way that reduces unnecessary trips to the emergency room, hospitalizations, and even incarcerations.

This service targets people living in Wake, Durham, Cumberland and Johnston counties who have Medicaid or no insurance. Individuals with private insurance and those who do not qualify for other public funding will pay an out-of-pocket fee.

The new center in Raleigh, located at 319 Chapanoke Road. Suite 120, is open for adults and children Monday-Thursday from 8 am to 8 pm, on Fridays from 8 am to 3 pm and on Saturdays from 8 am to 1 pm. It is operated by Monarch, a member of the Alliance Provider Network that also offers a variety of other behavioral health services at locations across the state.

“Those in need of mental health support often wait weeks for an appointment. The Behavioral Health Urgent Care will offer same-day service and will assist people who are in a crisis to get the critical mental health and substance use disorder services that most likely are unavailable or not easily accessible,” said Monarch’s Vice President of Operations for Outpatient Services Robin Henderson-Wiley. “This facility is the collaboration of so many amazing partners, like Alliance Health and Wake County, and is one example of how a community can work together to provide the necessary care for people with very complex needs.”

Visitors to urgent care have access to psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, and other clinical staff in a safe, respectful environment. Center staff see people in a variety of situations, including people who need a medication refill to remain stable but face a wait to see their regular provider, people in acute psychological distress, and people seeking urgent assistance with a substance use disorder. It can also be used by school staff to get quick help for youth in distress, and by parents who are required to get psychiatric assessments for children before they are allowed back in school but face a long wait for an appointment at a traditional mental health practice.

A visit to the center averages about two hours, and begins with a nursing assessment and a drug and alcohol screening to assess whether an individual is physically stable, followed by a crisis assessment to determine what services are appropriate. Staff also conduct an assessment of social determinants, such as housing, food security and social support, to determine whether an individual needs to be connected with other services to maintain stability.

Alliance opened a similar urgent care center in Durham in summer 2017. It served more than 1300 people last year, with 90% seeing a physician/prescriber on the same day. Only 6% of individuals with Medicaid seen at the Durham center had an emergency department visit in the following 30 days.

“Alliance is committed to giving people access to services when they need it and in the most appropriate settings,” said Dr. Margaret Brunson, Alliance Director of Hospital Relations. “The behavioral health urgent care is an innovative way to de-escalate crises, address social needs, and prevent unnecessary use of higher levels of care.

This level of care is not suited for drug/alcohol detoxification, people with urgent medical needs, or when it is clear that hospitalization is required. In those cases, a hospital or one of Alliance’s Crisis and Assessment Centers is more appropriate. Locations of these facilities are available on the Alliance website at AllianceHealthPlan.org. Alliance also provides an Access and Information Line staffed by clinicians 24/7 at (800) 510-9132.

About Alliance Health
Alliance Health is the managed care organization for publicly-funded behavioral healthcare services for the people of Durham, Wake, Cumberland and Johnston counties. Alliance works with a network of almost 2200 private providers to serve the needs of 471,000 Medicaid-eligible and uninsured individuals within a total population of 1.8 million.

Alliance in Touch Newsletter

February 2019 Alliance InTouch newsletter now available

The February 2019 edition of the Alliance InTouch newsletter for Alliance employees, friends and community members is now available! Stay “in touch” with what is going on at Alliance and the important work we do to deliver the best care to the people we serve.

Read and download the Alliance InTouch newsletter.

Alliance Health Logo

Alliance Behavioral Healthcare to Become Alliance Health

(Durham, NC) – Alliance Behavioral Healthcare, the public behavioral health managed care organization, or MCO, for Durham, Wake, Cumberland and Johnston counties, is changing its name to Alliance Health. The new name will be incorporated gradually into Alliance’s informational materials and media over the next few weeks.

“Alliance Health better reflects our future in North Carolina’s public healthcare landscape,” said Alliance CEO Rob Robinson. “It speaks to the integrated whole-person care – physical, behavioral and pharmacy – that we will be providing for the individuals we serve.”

As part of Medicaid transformation, over the next few years North Carolina will create two new kinds of health plans that will serve most Medicaid and NC Health Choice beneficiaries, including individuals currently served by our state’s LME/MCOs. These plans will be referred to as Standard Plans and Tailored Plans.

Standard Plans will provide physical and behavioral healthcare, along with pharmacy services, to people with lower-intensity behavioral health needs. The current timeline calls for Standard Plans to take effect in late 2019 through early 2020.

Tailored Plans will serve people with more severe mental illnesses, substance use disorders, and long-term needs including intellectual/developmental disabilities and traumatic brain injury. The Tailored Plans will provide integrated physical health, behavioral health, and pharmacy services to their members. Alliance Health anticipates being chosen to operate a Tailored Plan. The current timeline calls for Tailored Plans to take effect in mid-2021.

According to Robinson, there will be no changes in the Alliance provider network associated with the name change, and people’s contacts at Alliance are not changing. “It’s important that our members and other stakeholders understand that for now, all that is changing is our name. We just don’t want folks to be confused if they see or hear both names for a little while.”

Individuals will receive full information about future changes regarding their health plan well in advance of those changes. More information about Medicaid transformation is available on the NC Department of Health and Human Services website at www.ncdhhs.gov/assistance/medicaid-transformation.

About Alliance Health
Alliance is a public behavioral health managed care organization, or MCO, with responsibility for the authorization of services for over 439,000 Medicaid-eligible and uninsured individuals and a population of 1.8 million in Durham, Wake, Cumberland and Johnston Counties. It partners with a network of over 2,000 private providers.

Morrisville Home Office exterior

New Alliance Home Office Location

Alliance is in the process of making a phased move to a new home office located at 5200 West Paramount Parkway, Suite 200, in Perimeter Park in Morrisville. Over the coming weeks staff at the current home office at 4600 Emperor Boulevard will be moving, while staff at the Durham community office will be moving in late January, and staff at the Wake community office later in the first half of 2019. If you have a meeting scheduled at one of our offices over the coming weeks, you are advised to check with the Alliance staff you are meeting with to confirm their location.

Alliance in Touch Newsletter

December 2018 Alliance InTouch newsletter now available

The December 2018 edition of the Alliance InTouch newsletter for Alliance employees, friends and community members is now available! Stay “in touch” with what is going on at Alliance and the important work we do to deliver the best care to the people we serve.

Read and download the Alliance InTouch newsletter.

Community Forum graphic

Alliance to Hold Community Forum in Johnston County

Alliance will hold a community forum to discuss Medicaid reform and how it will impact healthcare delivery.

The forum will also address:

  • Alliance’s Community Gaps and Needs Assessment, which surveyed service gaps and barriers identified by our Johnston stakeholders.
  • Alliance’s plan for improving access to care and supports.

The forum will be on Monday, December 3, 2018, 4–6 pm, at the Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield, 305 E. Market Street, Smithfield, NC 27577.

1915(b) Waiver Posted for Public Comment

NC Medicaid has posted the 1915(b) Waiver for public comment at:  https://medicaid.ncdhhs.gov/get-involved/nc-health-choice-state-plan.

Public comments can be submitted by email or voicemail to NC Medicaid (Division of Health Benefits):

Email:  [email protected]

Phone:  919-855-4968

NC’s 1115 Waiver Approved by CMS

North Carolina received federal approval on October 24 from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) of the amended 1115 Demonstration Waiver application that DHHS submitted last November. Receiving waiver approval is a major milestone toward implementing North Carolina’s Medicaid Managed Care and moving the state’s health care system toward further integration and coordination. We appreciate the extensive input from clinicians, beneficiaries, hospitals, counties, health plans, elected officials, advocates and other stakeholders to develop the waiver.

With today’s waiver approval, North Carolina was given the authority to implement the transition to Medicaid Managed Care and integrate physical health, behavioral health and pharmacy benefits. This transition toward whole person care also includes the authority to create Tailored Plans to serve people with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) or higher-intensity behavioral health needs, and a specialized behavioral health home model to ensure strong care management for those individuals. To support broader state efforts to combat the opioid crisis and improve access to treatment, DHHS received authority to implement new flexibilities that allow for treatment of substance use disorder in institutions of mental disease (IMDs). The approved waiver also gives North Carolina federal authority to implement through its managed care plans an innovative Healthy Opportunities pilot program, which will identify cost-effective ways for managed care plans to deliver whole person care and ensure that Medicaid dollars are purchasing value. Please note that the approved waiver focuses only on the aspects of North Carolina’s Medicaid managed care transformation that require CMS approval.

DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. will hosts a webcast on the 1115 waiver and what approval means to North Carolina’s transition to Medicaid Managed Care on Friday, October 26 from 1:00-2:00pm. Click here to register to view and listen to the webcast. Note that the webcast can be seen and heard only through a computer or smartphone. Make sure your computer speakers or smartphone audio is on and the volume turned up when you join the webcast.

Additional waiver materials, including a fact sheet, original and amended waiver applications, CMS approval letter and other transformation information may be found on the NC Medicaid transformation website.

Alliance Pharmacist Vera Reinstein receiving award

Alliance Clinical Pharmacist Vera Reinstein Wins Award

Vera Farkas Reinstein, PharmD, Alliance’s Clinical Pharmacist, recently received the Cardinal Health Generation Rx Champions Award for excellence in community-based prescription drug abuse prevention.

This award, which was presented at the North Carolina Association of Pharmacists annual convention in September, honors a pharmacist who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to raising awareness of the dangers of prescription drug abuse among the general public and among the pharmacy community. It is also intended to encourage educational prevention efforts aimed at patients, youth, and other members of the community.

Dr. Reinstein’s role at Alliance includes provider outreach and education, as well as community collaboration on projects around drug overdose and naloxone access. She goes above and beyond in helping NCAP, pharmacists, and North Carolina communities with the opioid epidemic. Dr. Reinstein has volunteered with NCAP to produce two webinars related to naloxone and chronic pain management and is one of several key pharmacists who has helped develop the “NCAP Advanced Opioid Workshop–Transforming Practice to Save Lives,” which was offered for the first time at the NCAP convention.

During the past year, Dr. Reinstein has been instrumental in helping with efforts to reduce the risk of injection-related infections by making connections for syringe exchange programs with community pharmacies willing to sell syringes. She also recognized a need for an up-to-date drug disposal guide and authored an infographic to be placed on the NC Board of Pharmacy website for public access and to help pharmacists with patient education.

The Cardinal Health Foundation (not affiliated with Cardinal Innovations Healthcare) supports local, national and international programs that improve health care quality and build healthy communities. The Cardinal Health Foundation also offers grants to encourage employee service to the community and works through international agencies to donate much-needed medical supplies and funding to those who need them in times of disaster. To learn more, visit www.cardinalhealth.com/community.

The Alliance for Patient Medication Safety (APMS) was established by the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA) and is listed as a Patient Safety Organization with the Agency for Health Research and Quality (AHRQ). The mission of APMS is to foster a culture of quality within the profession of pharmacy that promotes a continuous systems analysis to develop best practices that will reduce medication errors, improve medication use and enhance patient care. To learn more, visit www.medicationsafety.org.

 

Human Rights Committee Meeting Rescheduled

The October 11 meeting of the Alliance Board Human Rights Committee that was canceled due to recent inclement weather will be held on Wednesday, October 17 at 4:00pm in Office 210 at the Alliance Home Office.