Columbus Co. wants to join Trillium Health, Eastpointe responds


COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Columbus County wants to leave the current company that manages mental health, developmental disabilities and substance abuse services in their county.

The Board of Commissioners wants to leave Eastpointe and join Trillium Health Services.

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Commissioners say residents have not had access to high quality services under Eastpointe management.

The county wants to hear from residents about the proposed change.

Comments can be made to the Columbus County Manager’s office in writing, in person or by phone until September 15.

In a press release Tuesday night, Eastpointe states they are disappointed to learn that the Columbus County Commissioners have decided to pursue another company.

They say Eastpointe plans to reach out to the Commissioners to request time to discuss their concerns and answer their questions and are determined to work with Columbus County to ensure that its citizens’ voices can be heard.

Spokeswoman with Eastpointe states:

“Our responsibility under the law is to ensure that every eligible citizen receives requested, medically-appropriate behavioral health services. Through the 26 providers in our Columbus County network, we do just that. In fiscal year 2016, Eastpointe paid $15.1 million in Medicaid and State funds for services in Columbus County. In fiscal year 2017 that amount increased to $16.6 million. The County represents seven percent of Eastpointe’s member population and it received seven percent of the claims we paid.”

Eastpointe said they invested the state-mandated, yearly behavioral health contributions from the County in services based solely on the Commissioners’ judgement of what would be best for its citizens. The Commissioners review these contributions and services annually. They say despite their call Monday to get a better deal for their eligible citizens, they cut these contributions by 50% last year, from $80,000 to $40,000. Because County funds are spent specifically for County requests, the funding to Southeastern Regional Medical Center designated for Columbus County behavioral health needs was cut.

The release adds saying “doing right by our members requires Eastpointe and the Commissioners to work through our differences before making decisions that affect the continuity of their care. We need to make sure these decisions help those in need, rather than just hoping to do no harm. People must take priority over politics.”