Cardinal Innovations Hosts Mecklenburg Crisis Symposium

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — May 22, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CHARLOTTE, N.C., MAY 22, 2015 – Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions’ Inaugural Mecklenburg Community Operations Center Crisis Symposium, “Rewriting the Ending…..Together,” brought key healthcare, school, legal and judicial leaders together at Myers Park Baptist Church Friday, May 22, to discuss behavioral health crisis prevention.

Cardinal Innovations, which manages North Carolina’s largest specialty Medicaid plan serving 357,000 members, is working to promote the use of mental health crisis services that are available now, decreasing the number of individuals who end up in emergency departments and jails because of a behavioral healthcare crisis. The purpose of the symposium, which was planned by Cardinal Innovations’ Mecklenburg Community Operations team and drew approximately 250 participants, was to promote positive community connections that champion the use of community-based services and supports.

“Building strong partnerships with Charlotte and Mecklenburg County leaders is important to providing the best care possible to individuals facing a behavioral health crisis in this community,” said Cardinal Innovations CEO Richard Topping. “Many of the local leaders who joined us Friday have the power to help improve outcomes and rewrite the ending for the individuals who need our help. We look forward to working with them.”

Topping said Cardinal Innovations was also pleased to welcome Dave Richard, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Services. Deputy Secretary Richard gave an update on recent initiatives of the North Carolina Crisis Coalition. Richard discussed the importance of community and collaboration to address crisis solutions, adding that events like the symposium organized by Cardinal Innovations on Friday provide the opportunity to build community partnerships that help people.

Nicole McKinney, the Vice President of Mecklenburg Community Operations said the symposium is an important step in opening a dialogue about helping people in the community who experience a behavioral health crisis.

“Crisis services and community supports are available to help individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis. Using those existing resources better serves the individual who is in crisis while also reducing the impact on other local resources so it is beneficial to everyone involved,” McKinney said. “We hope through this symposium we can start a conversation in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County that will continue to
improve the healthcare options available for all.”

Keynote speaker Sharon Denise Wise, an international trauma expert and consultant, spent more than 30
years in and out of jails, institutions and hospitals. Now she travels internationally sharing her story and the
lessons she learned and agreed to share her story at the symposium. Wise has won several awards
including the 2009 Joy Evans Award for Community Services, the 2010 VOICE Award, the 2011 Martin
Luther Jr. Award for Community Services and the 2011 Crisis Intervention Team Consumer Leadership
Award. She also has been honored with the 2012 National Council Award for Contributions to the Arts and
the 2013 Community Service Award for Leadership. She has written plays and children’s books about her
experiences as well as about bipolar disorder and the history of trauma. Wise shared some of her
experiences with the symposium audience Friday.

Some of the key community leaders who attended the symposium included: behavioral healthcare first
responders, district attorneys, magistrates, judges, child welfare, judicial system, hospitals, mobile crisis,
behavioral health urgent centers, facility based crisis centers, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Charlotte-
Mecklenburg Police, the Mecklenburg County Sherriff’s Office, advocacy groups, Community Care Partners
of Greater Mecklenburg, the health department, STAR, community-based crisis resources, county
employees, members and their families.

“We wanted to involve as many community organizations as possible, placing special emphasis on getting
healthcare, school, law enforcement and judicial leaders to join the conversation because they also work
with individuals who are having mental or behavioral healthcare crises,” Whitson said. “We value their
input and partnership in helping these individuals.”

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