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Vaya Health joins Medicare reform coalition

The Watauga Democrat - 12/6/2017

ASHEVILLE ? Leaders of three managed care organizations, including Vaya Health, that cover over 50 counties in eastern and Western North Carolina have formed a new partnership that looks to help propel the Medicaid reform plan proposed by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

The coalition will unite the efforts of three managed care organizations - Alliance Behavioral Healthcare of Durham, Trillium Health Resources of Greenville and Vaya Health of Asheville - to form "Advancing N.C. Whole Health."

The three organizations, who are responsible for managing more than $1.375 billion in public funds to open up providers to offer treatment and support for mental illness, substance use disorders, and intellectual/developmental disabilities and 610,000 Medicaid-covered patients across 52 counties, according to their joint statement, are looking at Medicare reform as their top goal.

"The coalition is in full alignment with the Medicaid reform plan proposed by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services," a statement from the alliance on Nov. 15 stated.

Watauga County is part of the 23-county coverage area of Vaya Health, which extends from the High County to the southwest corner of the state.

According to the statement, the leaders of the three organizations "identify the collaboration as the most effective way to demonstrate to NC DHHS, the General Assembly and potential commercial health care partners that MCOs can successfully implement Medicaid Transformation in a way that advances high-quality care, improves population health, engages and supports providers and establishes a sustainable program with predictable costs, a four-prong approach known as the Quadruple Aim."

The alliance says this is not a merger or mandated consolidation and that each managed care organization will "continue to operate in their respective counties, keeping their names, board structure and staffing, in addition to working together as part of the coalition to leverage resources, experience and expertise on a statewide level."

"Through the formation of the coalition, the MCOs seek to have a stronger voice in preserving the role of the public behavioral health care system in Medicaid Transformation, helping ensure continued stability and continuity of care for the people they serve," the statement continues. "The potential to establish a combined statewide provider network will enhance access to a diverse range of services and supports for people in both urban and rural areas of the state."

"The public MCO system has unique experience and expertise in addressing the behavioral health needs of North Carolinians," said Brian Ingraham, Vaya Health CEO. "This coalition provides an opportunity to build on our track record of success and expand our contribution to the health of the people we serve."

More information about the coalition can be found at www.advancingncwholehealth.com.


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