(The Rocky Mount Telegram) The N.C. General Assembly has directed another overhaul of the state’s mental health system — the second in a decade — to attempt to fix chronic shortcomings in patient care and prevent financial blunders.
In 2001, the General Assembly agreed to turn 39 local public programs providing clinical treatment for the mentally ill, substance abusers and the developmentally disabled into administrative hubs that contracted with outside providers for patient services.
The switch to fewer “local management entities” was designed to shift treatment away from state institutions to private providers in communities. But the change fell short of expectations — many say it failed — as wide coverage gaps surfaced and watchdog agencies later determined hundreds of millions of dollars were wasted on overpriced or unnecessary care.
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