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Big changes are coming in behavioral health services

Beginning in 2019, private health insurance companies will begin providing services to clients with mild to moderate behavioral health needs while Trillium Health Resources, and similar governmental entities across the state, will continue to manage high risk cases with the added duty of managing those clients’ medical and physical health issues, Dave Peterson, Trillium’s regional director, told Tyrrell commissioners May 7.

This latest change in service provision to residents having issues with mental health, substance use or developmental disabilities “is the most sweeping I have seen in my 36 years in this field,” Peterson commented.

By next February, contracts will be awarded to selected private insurance companies. In the summer of 2019, beneficiaries will begin selecting their primary health provider under a managed care system. The Medicaid managed care program will launch in November 2019.

Meanwhile, Trillium will be working with county social services and health departments in developing a whole person care model tailored to cover costs of each high risk client’s physical issues along with behavioral health issues.

Trillium’s coverage area has also grown to 26 counties: all the coastal counties between Virginia and South Carolina plus inland as far as Northampton, Nash, Pitt, Jones, Pender and Columbus counties.

Population of the 12,000-square-mile area is estimated at over 1.4 million, with 205,000 of them eligible for Medicaid. Last year Trillium spent $355.2 million through 500 contracted providers on services to its almost 54,000 clients.

During the fiscal year that ended last June 30, Trillium served 1,880 residents and spent $3.1 million on opioid abuse prevention and recovery.

Peterson reported that Trillium received $30,000 in donations for food, clothing, hygiene and other needs of victims of Hurricane Florence, distributed 4,000 care packages to shelters and 1,500 comfort kits for children. Trillium stocked 200 food pantries and distributed 1,000 backpacks.

Trillium served 138 Tyrrell County residents last year and some received services in more than one category. Mental health services went to 108 individuals, substance use services to 35, and intellectual or developmental disabilities services to 17.

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