make WWAY your homepage  Become a fan on facebook  Follow us on twitter  Receive RSS Newsfeeds  MEMBERS: Register | Login

UPDATE: Southeastern Center runs out of state funds; Responds via news release

READ MORE:
mentalhealth300.jpg

UPDATE (11/29): HERE IS A NEWS RELEASE SENT THIS AFTERNOON IN REPSONSE TO OUR STORY LAST WEEK. NO ONE FROM SECMH PICKED UP THE PHONE WHEN WE CALLED OR CALLED US BACK WHEN WE ORIGINALLY PRODUCED THE STORY:

Southeastern Center Continues to Provide Consumers with Mental Health, Development Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services

Southeastern Center Area Director Foster Norman wants to assure the community that “we are not out of funds.” Southeastern Center is making adjustments to the array of services offered based on the recent utilization and the need to stay within the budget.

This year Southeastern Center and the community providers have delivered more services to more consumers and expanded the array of services as compared to last year. This 58% increase in demand must come from the same limited budget as last year.

The budget adjustments will assure that funds are available for the remainder of the fiscal year. The benefit plan includes preventative measures such as freeing up funds designated for services that were not being used and limiting the number of high cost services.

New consumers can continue to contact the Call Center at 1-866-875-1757 for assessment and crisis services. Southeastern Center will continue to review and work with the providers to deliver quality services and meet the needs of the consumers and families in our area.

HERE IS A COPY OF THE ORIGINAL MEMO POSTED ON 11/17 ON SECMH'S WEBSITE:

COMMUNICATION MEMO # 136

To: SOUTHEASTERN CENTER COMMUNITY OF STATE FUNDED PROVIDERS
FROM: WILLIAM HOLTZ, DIRECTOR OF PROVIDER SERVICES
SUBJECT: FY 10-11 BUDGET AND BENEFIT PLAN CHANGES
DATE: NOVEMBER 17, 2010

Southeastern Center has been carefully monitoring the service activity, comparing this to the FY 10-11 service budget. The analysis of the first quarter of the fiscal year 2010-2011 has been completed. This analysis included the level of authorizations, percent of units claimed by providers, spending trends against available dollars and the level of service specific authorization limits. Based on this analysis, Southeastern Center has determined that the current budget plan has reached capacity for consumer volume and service units. Current spending is above our target for the quarter; therefore, we are making some adjustments in order that funds are evenly accessible for the remainder of the fiscal year. Southeastern Center will conduct this same analysis in January 2011 (reviewing the first and second quarter). We also have a summary report of this data that is reviewed monthly.

The following changes are effective Monday, November 22, 2010
(A) Adjust Benefit Plan service limits; Updated Benefit Plan
(B) Close some high-use services to new referrals;
(C) Eliminate underused services from the benefit plan;
(D) Adjust line-item budget allocations
For specific information as to the benefit plan changes for age/disability groups and services, please refer to the State-Funded Benefit Plan posted on the Southeastern Center website. Southeastern Center appreciates the assistance and collaboration of the provider network as we attempt to balance authorizations, claims paid and funds available to ensure that state-funded services are available to consumers for the entire fiscal year.

Please note that current certifications remain in effect for the certification period and the new benefit limits will take effect with the next cycle of certification requests received November 19, 2010 and after. Any certification requests that exceed the new limits will be returned as unable to process and are not subject to appeal.

HERE IS A COPY OF A SECOND MEMO POSTED ON 11/22 ON SECMH'S WEBSITE:

COMMUNICATION MEMO # 137

To: SOUTHEASTERN CENTER STATE CONTRACTED COMMUNITY OF PROVIDERS

FROM: WILLIAM HOLTZ, DIRECTOR OF PROVIDER SERVICES

SUBJECT: BUDGET CAPACITY FOR NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER

DATE: NOVEMBER 22, 2010

Due to the increased number of new consumers and the high volume of concurrent certification requests (CRF), the state funded service budget has reached capacity for November and December 2010. Currently pending requests for prospective and concurrent certifications will be returned as Unable to Process. For services that are budgeted with slots, as new slots open new consumers will be certified.

In the future, when our budgeted service dollars are totally encumbered for the month, CRFs will be returned as Unable to Process. We will post on the SEC website a notice any time we have reached our monthly capacity. Once posted, please do not submit any additional CRF’s for that month; these will be returned as Unable to Process.

HERE IS A FOLLOW-UP MEMO POSTED ON THE 24TH ON THE WEBSITE:

COMMUNICATION MEMO # 138

To: SOUTHEASTERN CENTER STATE CONTRACTED COMMUNITY OF PROVIDERS

FROM: WILLIAM HOLTZ, DIRECTOR OF PROVIDER SERVICES
SUSAN HANSON, DIRECTOR OF UTILIZATION MANAGEMENT

SUBJECT: BUDGET MANAGEMENT; QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

DATE: NOVEMBER 24, 2010

Benefit Management Q & A
After posting Communication Memos # 136 and 137, providers have had many questions regarding the implementation of the changes to the state-funded benefit plan and restrictions to the certification of services for November and December 2010. Those questions and the associated answers have been compiled and are available for review at the following link: (link to be inserted when posted)

Benefit Certification changes
When a Certification Request Form (CRF) is submitted to UM and approved, the approved service units encumber (reserve) the associated units and funds in the monthly budget line. Historically, requests for certification greatly exceed what is actually provided and claimed. In order to consider re-opening concurrent certification requests for December 2010, Southeaster Center must reduce the encumbrance of funds. The following steps have been implemented, effective November 24, 2010, to make available units and funds:

 Southeastern Center is deleting the Certifications in December for all Respite service and asking that CRFs for Respite be submitted only when the service is needed and expected to be provided.

 All current Personal Assistance Certifications will be reduced to the monthly service limit of the state-funded benefit plan.

 Targeted Case Management for all disability groups will be limited to two (2) case rate units per month.
 ADVP and Supported Employment will be reduced to 80 hours per month.

Both Respite and Personal Assistance are currently encumbered beyond the utilization ratio in the 1st quarter FY 10-11 and that inflated encumbrance amount is preventing other consumers from receiving the services.

Certain diagnostic categories are not covered in the state benefit plan: Not Otherwise Specified (NOS) with the exception of Psychotic Disorder NOS; Personality Disorders; Anxiety Disorders with the exception of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD) in adults.

##########

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The Southeastern Center for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services spent all of it's state funds and now new patients have no where to turn. The center is supposed to provide help for those in need, but now it's causing more problems for it's patients and other local agencies.

According to the website, the center is refusing to see any new patients and will cut back on services to current ones. It's something that former Southeastern sub-contractor Carlos Jones says will have major affects on our community.

"You can really just get into all type of things and again an individual that has a mental they are not mentally stable and you're just asking for them to get themselves in trouble," said Jones. "You're just opening up avenues and doors where those doors would not be open if they were getting the proper services."

Southeastern board member Jonathan Barfield agrees. The memo says they've reached budget capacity for the months of November and December and Barfield says this kind of notice is unacceptable.

"There's a tremendous concern on my part and I mentioned that to Foster Norman," said Barfield. Norman is the area director for the Southeastern Center.

"I feel like we are past the stage of coming up short with our budget," said Barfield. "I thought we had things better under wraps than what they are. I know there was some kind of mistake on Southeastern's part."

Jones and Aundrey Johnson work for the Youth Enhancement Center in Wilmington. Youth Enhancement was sub-contracted to work with Southeastern years ago but never got paid for the majority of their services.
The two say state funds were never allocated correctly for patients or contractors and as a result Youth Enhancement never got their money.

"It's not only us," said Johnson. "There's been several agencies who were caught in the trap of whether or not we were gonna support the individuals who had become so dependent on us or if we were just going to cut out and leave and run."

Youth Enhancement decided to stick it out for the sake of the patients but are no longer working with the Southeastern Center.

Youth Enhancement is now in the process of appealing to the state for the money they say they are owed. Barfield says Southeastern's services will be reduced for the rest of 2010. He says they hope to analyze their numbers over the holidays and start fresh in the new year. However, many patients are left with limited options and care until their full services resume.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

»

What don't you get?

the state is out of money. They won't admit it; but expect to see significant spending cuts for the next fiscal year.

And let's see, funds were given to one entity with the intent of trickling down the funds to other service providers. The funds did not trickle down.

So let's sue the state. Must be an attorney behind that decision. If you're going to sue someone, why not sue the entity with which you had the contract?

If the money "disappeared", why not get Roy Cooper's investigators involved. He's always looking for the opportunity to serve the citizens of NC. They still have plenty of room at state institutions if embezzlement was involved.

Shame and a Disgrace!

Southeastern like all other "local management entities" who are responsible for acting much like an HMO to manage care for NC residents who are deemed "indigent" and have no other way to pay for their mental health, substance abuse, and/or development disability services was given a budget at the beginning of the state's fiscal year in July 2010 and had a responsibility to plan how those funds would be used to pay for services for the entire fiscal year. The state does not hold their hands and tell them how to spend the money - they allocate it to the local management entity and it is their responsibility to look at the current volume of people in need and come up with a benefit plan that will allow them to provide services for 12 months as well as continue to monitor the level of need and make necessary adjustments on a monthly basis. Southeastern is also required to report their financial status to the board and the state on a monthly basis. So why does this keep happening across the state? Not only are the Southeastern and similarly situated local management entity staff and directors asleep at the wheel but so are their board of directors who have a responsibility to oversee the financial status of the agency and the state representative who receive these monthly financial reports and simply file them away in a drawer instead of actually looking at the data and red flagging problem areas and investigating them before they hit crisis stage. These situations are maddening when you think of the fact that the local and state employees responsible for oversight are paid 100% in taxpayer dollars with 0 accountability. Heads should be rolling all over the place but instead the newspaper will print a couple of articles, the state will find some money from somewhere most likely so will the counties involved and it will all get swept under the rug to only happen again. Citizens in Southeastern's area should really stand up and demand accountability of all involved state, board of director, and Southeastern staff to make sure that this does not happen again!

It's about time southeastern

It's about time southeastern cut off these funds. With all this money that SECMH has speant in the past few years, do we really have a better society? Or did poor people have personal assistants driving them around? My only hope is that most of the poorly run mental health agiencies that are on the edge of closing it's doors will finally do so. Also, I would hope that southeastern cleans it's own house as well.

SE mental health needs an audit

I think it would be prudent to have an audit of each level of monetary responsibility so that we can understand where 2010's money went before the 2011 funding is released.

Having been through such an exercise, I can promise you that you would find many areas that could be completely cut out and most areas could be trimmed. One would be amazed at the administrative level, how much he/she can do without.

Hmm

SOmething tells me funds were allocated alright. Right into peoples pockets overpaying the bigwigs instead of using it to take care of people as it should. Im betting if the state audited them they'd find fraud and waste up to their eyeballs as is typical with alot of these organizations who cry over running outta funds. They had the funds they just didnt spend like they should obviously... Its sad the most needy get the smallest crumbs and just to clarify Im a Republican for the most part but the sad truth is funds are wasted hand over fist by beaucracies instead of providing the services they should its a fact. Less int he pockets of the higher ups and more for the services that need to be rendered after all I thought they were about helping people instead the seem to only help themselves.

Arrogance in Oversight

Where is Foster Norman? I am sure he will blame others and not take responsibility for hiring high priced accreditation consultants instead of providing oversight. Committees and bureaucracy never assisted anyone. SECMH is not better off now than it was several years ago, except no one was denied valuable services. I applaud the Star News for carrying this story and Please investigate further this is ABC all over again. The difference is real people are suffering and no apologies given for the "oversight" to those suffering or the taxpayer funded services not being provided to our most vulnerable citizens.

Stay on this story

southeastern for the mental disabilities

SOUTHEASTERN NEEDS TO STOP MISS USEING THE MONEY FOR THE MENTAL DISABILITIES FOR ADULTS AND CHILDREN OUR CHILDREN AND ADULTS NEEDS THERE HOURS RESPICE HOURS PERSONAL ASSISTANCE DAILY LIVING SKILLS MANAGEING MONEY SOCIAL SKILLS COMMUNITY OUR ADULTS AND CHILDREN ARE PEOPLE TO THEY HAVE FEELINGS EMOTIONS THEY NEEDS CONSTANTS HELP ALL THE TIME US PARENTS DONT WANT OUR ADULTS AND CHILDREN IN MENTAL HOSPITALS GROUP HOMES PARENTS HAVE TO WORK TO PAY BILLS AND TAKE CARE OF OUR FAMILYS AND OUR SPECIALS NEEDS ADULTS AND CHILDRENS IF PARENTS DONT WORK WE LOSE OUR HOMES EVERYTHING SOMEBODY EMAIL AND SAID ITS ABOUT TIME THAT SOUTHEASTERN STOP THE MONEY CAUSE OUR ADULTS AND CHILDREN DONT NEED THERE HOURS AND SERVICES PEOLE THAT DONT HAVE CHILDREN OR ADULTS WITH MENTAL DISABILITIES THAT DONT CARE FOR OUR ADULTS AND CHILDREN OUR ADULTS AND CHILDREN HAVE TO SUFFER GETTING STARE AT EVERY WHERE THEY GO LAUGH AT THEY ARE HUMANS LIKE WE ARE EXCEPT LITTLI DIFFERENT GOD PUT THEM HERE FOR A PURPOSE AND WE BELIEVE THAT SOUTHEASTERN GIVE THERE HOURS BACK TO OUR ADULTS AND CHILDREN GOD KNOWS WHAT YOUR DOING AND ONE DAY YOU WILL BE JUDGED AND HAVE TO ANSWER TO LORD PLEASE OUR ADULTS AND CHILDREN DONT NEED THERE HOUR EVERYTHING TAKING AWAY THANKS