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Alliance Health will soon manage behavioral care for many in Mecklenburg County

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N.C. Department of Health and Human Services

The company Alliance Health will soon take over managing behavioral health care for people in Mecklenburg County who use Medicaid or who don’t have health insurance. This comes about a year after county leaders voted to cut ties with another managed care organization, Cardinal Innovations Healthcare.

Alliance currently serves Wake County, where it’s based, along with Durham, Cumberland and Johnston counties. It will start service in Mecklenburg County on Dec. 1.

“I know there can be some understandable anxiety with a transition like this,” Alliance’s chief operating officer, Rob Robinson, said at a virtual town hall hosted by the county Wednesday evening. “I want to be sure you’re aware that there are a lot of folks working hard to ensure we meet our goal, that go-live is seamless and that there’s no disruption in service.”

Robinson said his team is working to hire around 450 new staff members to help with Alliance’s Mecklenburg County operation. The organization will also set up a Charlotte office at the Valerie C. Woodard Center on Freedom Drive, he said. People who currently use Cardinal, according to Robinson, should be able to continue seeing the same health care providers under Alliance.

In November 2020, Mecklenburg County commissioners voted to drop Cardinal and accused the company of poor service. Officials like assistant county manager Anthony Trotman accused Cardinal of delaying care for residents, including children, and said the company had a limited network of health care providers. The county received state approval for the split from Cardinal in August.

At least eight other counties have also opted to split with Cardinal — Cabarrus, Davie, Davidson, Forsyth, Orange, Rockingham, Stanly, and Union.

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