Letter from the Interim CEO - December 2017

If you’ve seen the news over the last few months, you’ve heard the conversation surrounding us here at Cardinal Innovations Healthcare. It hasn’t been good.

We’ve made mistakes, and unfortunately, the broader conversation has shifted away from what’s truly important – helping our members get the healthcare services and supports they need to live healthy, independent and productive lives.

As interim CEO, I’m proud to have the opportunity to work with our employees, healthcare providers, communities and partners to advance our goal of quality care for our members. The actions by DHHS last week align with that goal, as we are committed to working together to improve our governance and ensure that our operations are better aligned with both state and stakeholder expectations. During this temporary transition period, I want to assure you that everyone’s collective focus is on stability, continuity, and working as hard as we can to minimize disruptions for our members, employees and daily operations.

For Cardinal Innovations and our 875 employees across the 20 counties we serve, our mission to improve health and wellness for North Carolinians has never wavered. But we recognize that succeeding in this critical mission together requires openness and transparency, as well as a focus on our members, our provider partnerships, and our people.

Cardinal Innovations pioneered the state’s first behavioral health managed care plan, which now insures nearly 1 in 4 of North Carolina’s Medicaid enrollees and coordinates care for the uninsured and underinsured. And today, over 850,000 North Carolinians depend on us to help them navigate mental and behavioral health needs, intellectual and developmental disabilities, substance use disorders and other complex care challenges.
We’ve dedicated half of our entire Cardinal Innovations workforce solely to connecting with our members. Our care coordination and member engagement teams are located on the ground in the communities we serve—reaching out to members in person to understand each individual’s needs and to ensure they get the best care possible.

And it is our belief that this support must extend beyond healthcare. For many people, it’s tough to focus on keeping yourself healthy if you’re worried about having a roof over your head. Our Cardinal Innovations’ teams help people with mental illness find and choose housing in their communities through a program
called the Transitions to Community Living Initiative. We’re proud of how many individuals we have placed through this program.

When U.S. veterans find themselves in times of crisis, our VeteransLink program is there to support them with services, resources and training. We’ve also piloted multiple new clinical programs this year, addressing previously unmet needs such as more robust trauma-informed care, support during the transition from child to adulthood, IDD Care Coordination technical assistance programs, and partnerships to open multiple facility-based crisis centers throughout our 20 counties.

Having spent two and a half years managing the state’s $13.7 billion Medicaid budget, I saw first-hand how this community-based approach to care benefits our state’s most vulnerable citizens. And as healthcare reform evolves, it’s more important than ever for us to listen and understand.

In the coming weeks and months, I will work with employees and partners inside and outside the organization to develop a plan for moving Cardinal Innovations forward – a plan to clearly define our role, capitalizing on our strengths, focusing on the needs of the people we serve, and contemplating the shifting healthcare landscape in North Carolina.

As we look ahead, I’d like to reaffirm my commitment to you—to rebuilding your trust and to helping you, your loved ones, and your communities thrive through better healthcare.

- Trey Sutten, Interim CEO Cardinal Innovations Healthcare
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