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Cardinal Innovations Reports Members are Receiving Services Faster, and More New Members are Getting Connected to Care

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — March 03, 2021
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (March 3, 2021) – Cardinal Innovations Healthcare has implemented broad-spectrum measures designed to improve the quality, quantity and timely delivery of services for members across their twenty counties, including children involved in the foster system.

In January, new measurement data showed that more than 60% of all services begin within three days of authorization. For children in custody of DSS, Cardinal Innovations continued to well exceed its goal for processing treatment requests within 72 hours, and reported a significant reduction in time between clinical assessments and authorizations for treatment – all in the aim of getting children the right care at the right place as quickly as possible.

In addition, Cardinal Innovations shared a $6.7M investment in hospital partners to promote continuity of care throughout the pandemic. Hospitals are receiving a 25% rate increase for emergency department and inpatient visits from July of 2020 to June of 2021. The rate increases are in addition to $2.1 million in Covid-19 relief grants Cardinal Innovations distributed to non-profits throughout their twenty counties to help those disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

“We are 90 days into an aggressive action plan designed to raise the bar on managed care across our counties, said Trey Sutten, CEO. While our performance has always been high and well within our the parameters of our contract with DHHS, we believe in focusing on the measures that matter most to the health and wellness of our members and our counties. The progress we have made in such a short time is a testament to our commitment to better health outcomes.”

Other highlights of the progress report included:
  • Expansion of the new member welcome program, with targeted outeach 351 new Medicaid enrollees to needed services in January.
  • Continued focus on training for adult services through the addition of two new training dates.
  • Stationing licensed, clinical staff in DSS offices across 10 counties.
  • Adding 38 therapeutic foster care homes in Mecklenburg County.
  • Expanding the highly effective Youth Villages Intercept program. The program uses proactive and safe measures to prevent children from entering custody of social service agencies.
  • Re-deploying Medicaid funds to counties to cover costs of preliminary or transitional care or to address social determinants of health such as food and housing for foster children.
The progress report also included the launch of a specialized Therapeutic Foster Care Program for survivors of human trafficking and funding for the start up of a peer-run respite program and warm line that will support individuals in recovery across all twenty counties. Peer programs connect individuals with those who have lived experience and are willing to share their own recovery journeys in order to help others.

“Making real improvements, particularly to North Carolina’s child welfare system, is challenging and will take time and partnership with our counties,” Sutten said. “We alone will not resolve all of the pain points overnight, but we are working hard to lead change through innovations designed to serve more our members and give them a better chance to succeed and thrive.”


About Cardinal Innovations: Cardinal Innovations Healthcare is a specialized health plan and care coordinator for Medicaid recipients and the under- and uninsured in North Carolina with complex behavioral and special needs. Cardinal Innovations connects people with treatment and support for mental health, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and substance use disorders through a network of providers in their communities. The organization serves this important role in 20 counties. In 2020, Cardinal Innovations administered nearly $850 million for the care of 825,000 people in the region and invested more than $50 million to improve support systems and to respond to the pandemic. Cardinal Innovations also works with local governments to address public health concerns such as homelessness, suicide prevention, child welfare and domestic violence through education, engagement and outreach. https://www.cardinalinnovations.org
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