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NC Medicaid Advisory Group: 'No Decisions' On Overhaul Yet

North Carolina's proposed Medicaid overhaul may change significantly. That's the message from an advisory group the governor and legislature put together, which met for the first time Thursday.

Governor McCrory's administration originally wanted to put three or four massive organizations in charge of managing the state's Medicaid program, and those organizations could've been private companies. Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos said the state hoped to start rolling out the changes in 2015.

But the state legislature put the brakes on that plan and told the administration to set up an advisory group to study different options. It met for the first time Thursday.

"I definitely got the sense that no decisions had been made, and that was good," said Peggy Terhune from the advisory group. She's CEO of Monarch, a nonprofit that works in more than 50 counties with people who have disabilities, mental illnesses or challenges with substance abuse.

Terhune said the advisory group agrees with certain parts of the original overhaul plan, like better coordinating primary care and mental health services.

She said the group also likes the administration's plan to use more managed care organizations. But she said the group is still figuring out if that means using private companies.

"We certainly can recommend public-private, how does this look, is it a mix of public private?" she said. "Is it one or the other? How many of these organizations do we need?"

Terhune said those are questions the group will continue working through over the next few months. Its next meeting is in mid January.