Mecklenburg County Commissioners vote to sue North Carolina - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Mecklenburg County to sue state over Medicaid program, 130 jobs at stake

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners Tuesday afternoon voted unanimously to appeal the administrative decision by N. C. Dept of Health and Human Service to reassign management of the Federal medicaid program in the county. Commissioner Trevor Fuller says the county is essentially suing the state.

County officials say they spent millions of dollars to get MeckLINK Behavioral Healthcare ready to start on February 1st to oversee management of Medicaid for more than 150,000 patients with mental health problems, substance abuse, developmental and intellectual disabilities. 

"We are shocked and disappointed," said Fay Hamorski, a local parent.

The county says more 130 people - including care coordinators, telephone operators, clinical staff, claims and processing workers, along with I-T, have been hired. Another 12 are slated to start work on Wednesday January 9th. MeckLINK officials say the call center is scheduled to go live on January 15th for around-the-clock answering.

But last week the State Department of Health and Human Services notified county administrators that Mecklenburg will not be given management of the medicaid program.

State Health officials say an outside consultant determined that the county was not ready to launch.

MeckLINKofficials disputed the claim in a presentation to County Commissioners.

After at least an hour and half of closed session discussions with attorneys, commissioners directed staff "to continue working toward implementation and to engage consultants to assure readiness and insure progress."

Commissioners also "authorized the County Manager, with assistance of Counsel, to bring an action in the Office of Administrative Hearings".

The next step is to file the appeal. Attorney Dan Bishop, who is representing the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners,  says there is no precise timeline. However, he expects action to occur within the next week.

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