Message from the CEO - October 2019

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — October 09, 2019
I hardly thought my October message to you would be related to the state budget or the NC General Assembly. By this time of year, we expect the temperatures, the leaves, and the state budget all to have dropped, but so far, only the leaves and temperature have. We’re still waiting for a final state budget, and it has real implications for you and for us – I thought it was important to talk about it in this month’s update.
First, a quick note about the legislative process: once bills are passed by the General Assembly, they go to the Governor for final approval – if the Governor objects to a bill, he or she can veto it. However, the General Assembly has the power to override a veto and pass a bill into law over the objection of the Governor if there’s enough support. This is worth mentioning because the make-up of the General Assembly is such that bills can get passed but vetoes can’t be overridden with a simple majority vote. And that’s where we find ourselves with the state budget.
The nearly 400-page budget bill passed by the General Assembly in June covers a lot of ground – notably for Cardinal members and providers, it funds 1,000 new Innovations slots statewide, it funds wage increases for Direct Support Professionals, it funds pilot programs that support the foster care system, and it funds certain parts of Medicaid transformation.
The Governor vetoed the budget bill passed by the General Assembly in late June, and the General Assembly cannot adjourn their session without having passed a budget bill into law. Governor Cooper’s primary objection to the budget was not based on what was in the bill, but what wasn’t in the bill – Medicaid expansion. In response, the House and Senate have begun passing small pieces of the budget bill that have wide support from both parties in what they’re calling “mini budgets.”
Those of us at Cardinal are not interested in politics or parties – we’re interested in our members and our mission. We will continue to make sure that our elected and public officials know how their decisions impact our members, our providers and the behavioral health system. I want to make it clear that you, our members and our families, will always be our priority.
I want to wrap up this month’s letter with an ask: I write this monthly message for you, and I want to make sure it covers the topics and questions that are on your mind.  If you want me to cover specific topics, please send us a note and let us know.
Trey Sutten, CEO

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