The state is delaying its move to put 27,000 kids in child welfare programs into a managed care plan.
The Georgia Department of Community Health told GHN on Friday that the managed care program requires more time to launch. It will begin March 3, instead of the originally planned Jan. 1, an agency spokeswoman said in an email.
The move of foster care children and those in adoption assistance and in the juvenile justice system will result in improved coordination of care, state officials say. The new program is also expected to save Medicaid millions of dollars by emphasizing prevention and keeping the children healthier.
The Community Health spokeswoman, Lisa Marie Shekell, said in an email that the agency “remains committed to this transition because of the improvements in care and health outcomes that the children and youth impacted by transitioning into a managed care environment will experience.” full story
Devastating. Catastrophic. A disaster.
That’s how patient advocates and providers describe the effects of the possible loss of Grady Health System’s mental health program.
The mental health program, nevertheless, could be on the chopping block as the Atlanta safety net provider confronts nearly $100 million in funding cuts.
Grady CEO John Haupert
“Mental health is one [area] that would be looked at,’’ CEO John Haupert told GHN recently. The program loses $6 million annually, he said.
Grady is the second-biggest provider of mental health services in the state, behind the prison system, Haupert told a Rotary Club audience in Atlanta last month.
“We can’t be all things to all people,’’ he said. “We don’t have to be in the mental health business, [but] we need to be in the mental health business.’’
Grady Memorial Hospital in downtown Atlanta is facing up to $24 million in Medicaid funding reductions, plus an eventual annual hit of $45 million from a federal cut in money for hospitals that serve a high number of low-income patients. full story
Researchers at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health have opened a new center that aims to improve the lives of people with mental and substance use disorders.
The Center for Behavioral Health Policy Studies is bringing together a team of faculty, staff and students from Emory, Morehouse School of Medicine, Georgia Tech, the University of South Carolina, and the Carter Center Mental Health Program.
The center’s director, Dr. Benjamin Druss, says he hopes it will become “a center of gravity within the Atlanta community’’ to help people with these disorders.
Here’s a GHN video interview with Druss, courtesy of Emory, where he discusses mental health and substance abuse benefits, the Affordable Care Act, and the center’s work.
A report on a troubled health services organization in Coastal Georgia says its operation has been riddled with financial irregularities and management problems.
Gateway Behavioral Health Services, which has an annual budget of more than $30 million, has a deficit of close to $4 million. It also had $1.4 million in accounts payable at the end of August, according to a report written by the organization’s newly appointed manager.
“Most alarming was the fact that the staffing company that employs almost all of Gateway’s direct service staff was owed $1.2 million, or three bi-weekly payrolls, placing them at risk for interruption in its ability to deliver services,’’ said the Sept. 17 report by David Crews
Next month, Gateway will close a St. Marys bottling plant that is losing money, said the report by Crews to the state Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD). The plant employs people with behavioral health problems and developmental disabilities.
Crews, in an interview with GHN on Friday, said Gateway “has some real cash flow issues.’’
Crews was put in charge of Gateway in July, when DBHDD took control of the organization, firing its CEO and asking its chairman to resign.
Gateway had previously sued DBHDD, and the attorney who filed that lawsuit told Georgia Health News recently that the state seized control of Gateway and fired the CEO in retaliation for the suit. The lawsuit alleges the state owes Gateway more than $1 million in reduced payments. full story