Dave Richard, the recently appointed Director of North Carolina’s Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services, spoke at the regional Consumer & Family Advisory Committee (CFAC) meeting Thursday, July 25. Richard has been meeting with consumers and families across the state since assuming the Director’s position on May 28.
Richard discussed the future direction of the department and MH/IDD/SA services in North Carolina. Unfortunately with budgets strained in the state, there will not be a lot of new money to fund service expansion. It is Richard’s hope that with reorganization of the current system “we get the right services in place, at the right time, and that we are doing it in the most efficient way possible.” Richard also spoke to the Division’s responsibility saying, “Our job is to engage the LME/MCO's in a way that we have a contractual agreement where we hold them accountable and they hold us accountable, but frankly we have to partner together about statewide things that we have to accomplish."
Benita Purcell, chair of the Regional CFAC felt that Richard heard and understands their concerns. Purcell said, “Times are changing and I agree the current system has some problems but I am not sure changing the entire system is needed.”
Family members attending the meeting felt that Richard was skirting important issues. There was a lot of support for Cardinal Innovations from CFAC members who asked Richard why the state was willing to change the entire model if things were working well for Cardinal. The members questioned why there would be a need to bring in private companies to manage the mental health system. Richard said that we should not be concerned about whether the state contracted with public or private organizations, but how much either one would be mandated to spend on services.
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