County will continue temporary funding of MeckLINK services - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

County will continue temporary funding of MeckLINK services

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Hundreds of families got the news they hoped to hear Tuesday afternoon, as county manager Dena Diorio said Mecklenburg County will continue funding nearly $1.3 million in services provided by MeckLINK through June.

Mecklink was the newly created agency with the responsibility of managing Medicaid, state and local dollars to fund mental health, substance abuse, and developmental disability services.

The agency will be dissolved come April first, when Cardinal Innovations takes over management of Medicaid and state dollars, but not county dollars for services. The changeover was mandated by the state.

Cardinal Innovations is the largest managed care organization in the state.

Jodie Alexander said her family received a letter two weeks ago saying services would be de funded for her son Darrin, who has Down's Syndrome. Darrin attends day activities at an organization called Lifespan, which helps the developmentally challenged.

The Alexander's said Lifespan and MeckLINK had been helpful and informative about the transition, but they hated to loose the services.

Darrin attends Lifespan classes Monday through Friday. His brother, Rod Alexander, said having that break from care giving allows him to keep a full-time job and give their mother a rest.

Darrin can only communicate through eye contact and hand signals. He needs help getting in and out of his wheelchair.

Jodie said she was relieved to learn funding was restored through the end of June. However, the county must still decide what to fund for the next fiscal year, which starts July first.

Diorio said they will work with Cardinal to figure out the funding situation.

At least the deadline is no longer a week away. The Alexander's worried about having to make quick arrangements.

Diorio said in a county workshop meeting that if services change, the families would have more time to react.

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