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Message from the CEO - March 2019

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — March 06, 2019
As we enter another month in this already very busy year, I find it’s helpful for me to take a moment every now and then to step back and remind myself of what really matters. And for me, that’s making sure everything I’m doing is in line with our mission – improving the health and wellness of the members and families we serve. One way I’m focused on that right now is ensuring we’re able to sustain the services we offer for people over the next few years and as we approach the changes that will come with Medicaid transformation and becoming a Tailored Plan.

Most immediately, I’m focused on making sure we can continue to support people who do not have health insurance and don’t qualify for Medicaid. Today, we fund a lot of behavioral health services and supports outside of Medicaid through a special funding stream we receive from the state, known as “single-stream” dollars.

This is basically a safety net account that allows us more flexibility to provide services outside of Medicaid restrictions for people with mental health conditions, substance use (addiction) disorders, and intellectual or developmental disabilities. These dollars pass right through Cardinal – every dollar we receive is directly invested back into services and supports for our members and their families.

It’s also worth noting that these dollars are important whether or not Medicaid is expanded in North Carolina. If you’ve read our 2018 Impact Report, you already know that in the last fiscal year alone (FY 2018), Cardinal Innovations provided coverage for more than 26,000 North Carolinians outside of Medicaid using single-stream funds.

In 2015, the North Carolina General Assembly made its first significant cut to the amount of single-stream funds that LME/MCOs receive, while requiring us to keep the same level of services as the previous year (FY 2014-15). These funding cuts have only increased each year since 2015.

At the direction of the NC General Assembly, we have considerably depleted our cash reserves in order to maintain the same service levels as 2015 while managing more cuts to single-stream mental health funds each year – since 2015, single-stream funds have been reduced by a total of $458 million across the LME/MCO system. This path is not sustainable for our system and the people who rely on it for care.

The continued cuts to single-stream mental health funds will inhibit us from serving our members with the care and services they need and deserve. New services or projects that require ongoing non-Medicaid investments will not be possible.

Continuing to reduce single-stream behavioral health funds is a huge risk for our state – the need for addiction and mental health services is greater today in North Carolina than it was five years, or even one year ago. People deserve more support, and more resources, not less. This isn’t about increasing Cardinal’s revenue.

To be clear, this is not a Cardinal Innovations issue or even a LME/MCO issue – it is a system-wide issue. We stand shoulder to shoulder on this issue with our Consumer and Family Advisory Committees (CFACs), our provider partners, and our peer LME/MCOs.

That said, we are working with our partners at the NC General Assembly to share this message on behalf of those we serve as they begin the important work of crafting the state budget. Our ask of the General Assembly is simply that we restore single-stream funding for behavioral health services to 2015-2016 levels.

Today I have a message for our members, families, community stakeholders and advocates reading this message:

Our voices are stronger together. If you feel so moved, we ask you to join us in this effort. Contact your legislator and ask them to stand with the people in our state that need help combatting the challenges they face related to mental health conditions, substance use (addiction) disorders, and developmental disabilities – they can do that by providing these individuals and their providers and support professionals with the financial resources that are necessary.

We’ve provided contact information for all legislators in the 20 counties we serve below. If you have any questions or want support, you can reach out to our VP of Public Affairs, Allison Stewart, at

I’m constantly inspired by our members and families and know how strong our community is.

Together, we can move mountains.

Trey Sutten, CEO
Cardinal Innovations Healthcare

Click here to view, download, or print the list of NC legislator contact information in our 20 counties.
Member Name Email Address Cardinal Counties Represented
Senator John M. Alexander, Jr. Franklin County
Representative Chaz Beasley Mecklenburg County
Representative Kelly M. Alexander, Jr. Mecklenburg County
Representative Dean Arp Union County
Representative John Autry Mecklenburg County
Representative Lisa Stone Barnes   Franklin County
Representative Mary Belk Mecklenburg County
Senator Phil Berger Caswell, Stokes, and Rockingham Counties
Senator Dan Bishop Mecklenburg County
Representative Mark Brody  Union County
Representative Becky Carney Mecklenburg County
Representative Jerry Carter Rockingham County
Representative Christy Clark Mecklenburg County
Representative Debra Conrad Forsyth County
Representative Carla D. Cunningham Mecklenburg County
Senator Milton F. "Toby" Fitch, Jr. Halifax County
Senator Carl Ford Stanly and Rowan Counties
Senator Valerie P. Foushee Chatham and Orange Counties
Senator Eddie Gallimore Davidson County
Representative Terry E. Garrison Granville, Vance, and Warren Counties
Representative Ken Goodman Stanly County
Senator Rick Gunn Alamance County
Representative Kyle Hall  Stokes and Rockingham Counties
Representative Wesley Harris Mecklenburg County
Representative Craig Horn Union County
Representative Julia C. Howard  Davie and Rowan Counties
Representative Rachel Hunt Mecklenburg County
Representative Verla Insko Orange County
Senator Jeff Jackson Mecklenburg County
Representative Steve Jarvis Davidson County
Senator Todd Johnson Union County
Representative Linda P. Johnson Cabarrus County
Senator Joyce Krawiec Davie and Forsyth Counties
Representative Donny Lambeth Forsyth County
Representative Brandon Lofton Mecklenburg County
Representative Carolyn G. Logan Mecklenburg County
Senator Paul A. Lowe, Jr. Forsyth County
Representative Nasif Majeed Mecklenburg County
Senator Natasha Marcus Mecklenburg County
Representative Graig R. Meyer Caswell and Orange Counties
Senator Mujtaba Mohammed Mecklenburg County
Representative Derwin Montgomery Forsyth County
Senator Paul Newton Cabarrus and Union Counties
Representative Larry G. Pittman Cabarrus and Rowan Counties
Representative Larry W. Potts Davidson County
Representative Robert T. Reives, II Chatham County
Representative Dennis Riddell Alamance County
Representative Stephen M. Ross Alamance County
Representative Wayne Sasser Cabarrus and Stanly Counties
Senator Erica D. Smith Vance and Warren Counties
Representative Evelyn Terry Forsyth County
Senator Joyce Waddell Mecklenburg County
Representative Harry Warren Rowan County
Senator Mike Woodard Granville and Person Counties
Representative Michael H. Wray Halifax County
Representative Larry Yarborough Granville and Person Counties
Representative Lee Zachary Forsyth County

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