On Monday afternoon the Stokes County Commissioners approved a loan to CenterPoint Human Services to help fund the agency’s transition to a managed care organization under the new Medicaid waiver system.
CenterPoint will make annual payments back to the county for five years by reducing the discretionary funding allocation Stokes has to pay. Stokes County will charge CenterPoint an interest rate equal to what county investments are earning, but the rate cannot go lower than one percent. The county will evaluate the interest rate each year on July 1 to see if it needs to be adjusted.
The board unanimously approved the $148,217 allocation to CenterPoint with little discussion. The item had already been discussed at a few prior board meetings. Earlier this year the county set aside funding for CenterPoint’s request for the one-time allocation to fund start-up costs of transitioning to the Medicaid waiver. CenterPoint is the management entity overseeing mental health, developmental disabilities and substance abuse services in Forsyth, Stokes, Davie and Rockingham counties.
Earlier in the meeting, CenterPoint leaders presented a routine report to the board as required by its performance agreement.
CEO Betty Taylor noted that the number of unduplicated Stokes County consumers served grew from 1,990 to 2,202 in the past year. She also spoke about the $10 million decrease in government funding over the past few years to CenterPoint.
She said, “We appreciate Stokes County’s support as we try to do more with less.”
She said the agency is focused on implementing the waiver by the first of the year, which was moved up by the state. But Taylor said she believes the waiver will bring more consistency to mental health services.
Ronda Outlaw, chief administrative officer for CenterPoint, announced that Reidsville Area Foundation and CenterPoint collaborated on a successful Duke Endowment grant application to bring “Reclaiming Futures” to Stokes, Davie and Rockingham counties. The program’s goal is to increase positive outcomes for court-involved youth in need of substance abuse treatment.
Outlaw also pointed out that nearly 1,000 people attended this year’s FUN Day in King, a day of activities designed to remove the stigma often associated with behavioral health disorders. The Stokes County Mental Health Association, CenterPoint and other groups sponsor the event.
Commissioner Jimmy Walker asked, “Are we doing the job we need to be doing?”
Outlaw pointed out a list in the commissioners’ packets which detailed the services provided. She said as the agency moves into the waiver, it will better know the needs and how to address them. Walker also asked if there was CenterPoint has a liaison to the community to answer complaints. Outlaw explained that the agency has procedures for how to investigate complaints. CenterPoint will have someone in the future who focuses specifically on being an advocate for people who report concerns she said.
Kevin Beauchamp, CenterPoint chief financial officer, reported that 28 percent of Stokes County discretionary funds have gone toward mental health services, 42 percent toward development disabilities programs such as the Stokes Opportunity Center, 14 percent to substance abuse services, 14 percent to inpatient services, and 3 percent to transportation. During the first two quarters of the current fiscal year, the value of free or low-cost medications provided to Stokes County residents through the Patient Assistance Program totaled $408,454.
Commissioner James Booth asked how CenterPoint might be able to partner with Pioneer Community Hospital. Outlaw said the organizations are beginning conversations, and that Pioneer was quite receptive to ideas of offering some services directly in Stokes in partnership with CenterPoint.